Category Archives: Operating Systems

Microsoft Garage details Microsoft’s Cloud Security Strategy

I mentioned yesterday that Microsoft doesn’t hide the fact that any system can be broken, they embraced the fact and built their security initiatives that bad can and will happen to data. Now you can hear it for yourselves from a Lead Architect of Microsoft Cloud Computing platform Mark Russinovich. He was talking to Microsoft Garage series host today about how MS goes about protecting your data in the Cloud. Lets hope the competition are taking a page from this.

Now jump to 11:45 in the video and hear Mark confirm what I told you yesterday. MS assumes no matter how good your security is, it will be breached. You just have to mitigate to limit the damage. Go Microsoft.

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Apple pushes its head further into the sand

Boy, I knew this was coming, still it was disappointment when it comes. The wait is over, Apple has come to town on the rootcause of the Celebrities nude breach, yes, it wasn’t Apple’s fault as usual. How could we have guessed different. Apple confirmed there was a breach, but it was because users were not using strong password, leading to folks being able to guess their passwords.

That a perpetual repetition of login attempt was used till the right password was found was not mentioned. And I meant perpetual repetition of dictionary words. Thousands, sometimes millions of guesses being passed to Apple system till the right one is passed and access is granted. Pray do tell, iCloud users, do you guess your logins a thousand times before you give up? No, no sane person would guess their own login that long. So why does Apple’s system allow it.

This is the 21st century, no self-respecting system allows more than 5 guesses before locking up access to the system. So why does script-kiddies succeed in guessing thousands and thousands of attempts at login. No, it is not Apples fault touting a security platform of the 80’s, it is the users fault for not using strong password.

But guess what? Apple will get another pass again. It is almost Keynote time at Apple’s, none of your favorite tech blogger will dare to question Apple for the fear of not being invited to the Church. I don’t blame Apple, I blame the teeming masses that continue to give Apple a pass in all its laxities.

Just like SSL bug, another ridicule is allowed to pass as water under the bridge. I just pity those poor users who doesn’t know better.

My final question to Apple: If your infra was not involved in this breach, why the need to ask your users of Find My Phone service to re-authenticate themselves yesterday? I thought all was good with the platform?

You can fool some people some time, but you can’t fool all the people, all the time. One day, they’ll see through your smoke screen. Yes, it wasn’t Apple’s fault, it’s the users’ fault for trusting them with their lives.

Apple Painted itself into a Corner

With all the nude leaks going on these last days, all linked to iCloud breach, and the thundering silence of Apple to respond officially to the allegations, I am smelling a rat. It is two days after the fact, and Apple is yet to go to town with their manipulative attitudes. That smells to me fishy. It is unlike Apple to keep quiet for so long. Even with a single gram of salt, they would have gone to town in damage-control mode.

All these points as far as I am concerned to the fact the damage is so tremendous, that it requires special handling. You see the problem is, this is Apple that told the world they are the “most secured” platform on planet earth. The SwitcherAds adage still rings in the ear with “We are Apple, we don’t get viruses” pompous exclamation.

This very hubris is turning out now to be the Apple’s downfall in security. When you’ve conditioned the world to accept that you’re invincible and all bullets just bounce off you thick hide, then it is difficult to now turn around and confess to the world that your platform is as porous as any other’s on the planet.

Once is an accident, twice is a curiosity, thrice is a habit. The number of Security breaches taking place in Apple’s paradise is becoming epidemic. The laxity of Apple to build security into it’s product at foundational level is now coming back to bite them where it hurts most.

We’ve told the masses that there is not a single company that knows security like Microsoft. When you’re the planet’s atlas, carrying 90% of the world OS usage on your shoulder, you’re the big target for malicious hackers. Microsoft has learnt its lessons by pressing the reset button with its Secured Computing initiative in the Vista timeframe. Right now, they are centuries ahead of competition in security. We’ve told you all along, now we’re being vindicated.

Who are you going to trust with your precious data in the Cloud. Well my choice is clear. My choice goes to that company that has been battle-tested, and so should yours. Now let’s continue to wait on Apple’s spin-doctors, to see which diversionary tactics they’re going to employ this time around.

Image Credits:

From <http://thestickmanspeaks.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/painted-into-a-corner.jpg>

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High System Interrupts CPU Usage in Windows 8

This past period I re-loaded my Desktop PC to use one of the modern APU from AMD. I went from a powerful Quad-Core system to an APU On-board low power system. I did this out of a conscious choice to start limiting my impact on carbon emission and of course lower my utility bills. I am mostly in browse or Coding mode most of the time, I don’t game at all, so my need for a monster powered system of decades ago, is no more responsible in this green age. I mean, my desktop is like 24hr alive, so this is really necessary.

After the re-load, I was faced with two issues immediately. Video Driver issues which I wouldn’t bother you with in this article. I was eventually able to fix it by double installation of Win8. Simply to refresh the system.

The second and persistent problem was the high CPU usage of the System Interrupts.

Mine was running on constant average of 20% which as a Windows expert I know it means trouble in paradise. In the IDE HDD years, you know this means a HDD is using low level mode instead of the DMA mode. But these days, all HDDs use DMA mode, just to be sure, I wanted to check, yup, all my HDDs are on UDMA mode. So what could be causing this headache. High Interrupt use means warm CPU and waste of energy.

I scoured the internet for a solution, none are relevant to me. Now there is no tool that I know of that can show you Interrupt CPU usage and from where the break requests are coming from. So I decided something that years of experience has taught me: Defragment your HDD when having Perf issues.

Well, it worked like a charm, I defragged the System Drive fully, offline fully if you know what I mean. The result is what you see above. Interrupts now averages 0.5%.

So there you go guys, maintain your spinning HDDs, it helps. Of course this solution will not/should not apply to SSDs, but unfortunately, those are also notorious to frags. But you should let Windows maintain SSDs as recommended by Microsoft. As you know they have limited Write life compared to traditional HDDs.

Windows Fundamentals For Legacy PCs

 

In this bonus episode, I take a look at Windows Fundamentals For Legacy PCs (“FLP”), a little-known official Microsoft modification of Windows XP, designed for businesses still using hardware designed for Windows 9x to be able to run a more modern, safe and stable OS on their PCs. I end with a little fun trying to run the system on 64MB and 32MB RAM to see what happens. Continue reading

Windows XP Build 2481: “The Homestead Run”

In this video I wrap up our tour of the development of Windows XP with build number 2481, a pre-RTM build that heralded the completion of the GUI and out-of-box hardware compatibility for Windows XP, and was handed out to testers on 1st June 2001. Over the next few months, compiled builds were virtually identical and their primary function was to root out any last minute bugs that might wreak havoc on the projected release date of 25th October 2001. Thankfully, XP shipped as planned on this date, and firmly took its place in history as one of the most well-loved Windows operating systems. Continue reading

Windows XP Build 2475: “XP Finds Its Identity”

In this video I demonstrate the setup and UI of Windows Whistler build 2475 – one of the first builds of Windows Whistler to identify itself by the operating system’s recently-announced official name, “Windows XP”. This build was released to testers on 24th May 2001. Continue reading

Windows XP Build 2428: “Welcome To Windows, Luna”

In this video I demonstrate the setup and UI of Windows Whistler build 2428 (beta 2) which would eventually evolve into Windows XP. This build was shown to reviewers on 9th February 2001 – the same day that Microsoft announced the official name of Whistler – “Windows XP”. Continue reading

Windows XP Build 2419: “Hello World!”

In this video I demonstrate the setup and UI of Windows Whistler build 2419 – the third post-Beta 1 build of Whistler – which would eventually evolve into Windows XP. This build was first released to testers on 23rd January 2001 and was one of four post-Beta 1, pre-Beta 2 builds. Continue reading

Windows XP Build 2416: “Merlin’s Stage Entrance”

In this video I demonstrate the setup and UI of Windows Whistler build 2416 – the second post-Beta 1 build of Whistler – which would eventually evolve into Windows XP. This build was first released to testers on 16th January 2001 and was one of four post-Beta 1, pre-Beta 2 builds. Continue reading

Windows XP Build 2410: “Chartreuse Mongoose”

In this video I demonstrate the setup and UI of Windows Whistler build 2410 – the first post-Beta 1 build of Whistler – which would eventually evolve into Windows XP. This build was first released to testers on 4th January 2001 and was one of four post-Beta 1, pre-Beta 2 builds. Continue reading