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These guys are really on the ball, what with all of their fear-inducing colour-coded alerts and their useful duct-tape tips.
Here's a snippet from a recent advisory from MiniPax..I mean DoHS:
Quote: Department of Homeland Security
Potential For Significant Impact On Internet Operations Due To Vulnerability In Microsoft Operating Systems
July 30, 2003
SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Computers using the following operating systems:
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Services Edition Microsoft Windows 2000 Microsoft Windows XP Microsoft Windows Server 2003
OVERVIEW THIS IS AN UPDATE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) JULY 24, 2003 ADVISORY ON MICROSOFT OPERATING SYSTEMS. The DHS/ Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) is issuing this advisory in consultation with the Microsoft Corporation to heighten awareness of potential Internet disruptions resulting from the possible spread of malicious software exploiting a vulnerability in popular Microsoft Windows operating systems.
DHS expects that exploits are being developed for malicious use. (UPDATE: SEVERAL WORKING EXPLOITS ARE NOW IN WIDESPREAD DISTRIBUTION ON THE INTERNET. THESE EXPLOITS PROVIDE FULL REMOTE SYSTEM LEVEL ACCESS TO VULNERABLE COMPUTERS.) Two additional factors are causing heightened interest in this situation: the affected operating systems are in wide spread use, and exploitation of the vulnerability could permit the execution of arbitrary code. DHS and Microsoft are concerned that a properly written exploit could rapidly spread on the Internet as a worm or virus in a fashion similar to Code Red or Slammer. (UPDATE: NO WORM CODE HAS BEEN REPORTED; HOWEVER, AN INTERNET-WIDE INCREASE IN SCANNING FOR VULNERABLE COMPUTERS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS REINFORCES THE URGENCY FOR UPDATING AFFECTED SYSTEMS.)
Now this wouldn't be too unusual, except that barely 2 weeks earlier, those bright sparks handed a major contract to Microsoft for over 140,000 desktops:
Quote: MS secures 140k desktop Homeland Security deal By John Lettice Posted: 16/07/2003 at 14:15 GMT
The US Department of Homeland Security has signed a deal for Microsoft software worth something in the region of $100 million, covering servers and over 140,000 desktops. This does not however mean that Microsoft and its hench-OEM Dell are poised to hoover up all of the Department's lovely IT budget, nor indeed that this is all new money for them; largely, it seems to be more a case of Microsoft holding onto business it's already got.
The Department has purchased a Microsoft enterprise licence via Dell, which will be managing and supporting the deployment, including dealing with patches and updates. The foot in the door may be handy for Dell, but the deal doesn't cover hardware sales.
The deal is one of the first visible effects of the DHS' decision earlier this year to negotiate umbrella enterprise agreements with IT vendors, consolidating the purchasing of its individual component organisations into single contracts and thus achieving substantial discounts. So the upshot as far as Microsoft is concerned could perfectly easily be that it will now get substantially less revenue from the Department's office productivity systems than it was expecting.
Oracle is also one of the three dozen or so vendors on the target list for consolidated enterprise licences, and according to Government Computer News, the expectation is that the Department could save up to 40 per cent over current contracts. So this side of the DHS IT process isn't exactly a goldrush, and considering the Microsoft-Dell deal runs for six years, it doesn't represent a huge amount of revenue either.
Still, at least that's six years where they won't be deploying Linux. For office productivity systems, anyway.
-------------------- The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.
And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.
"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.
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