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Microsoft To Get Malware Bailout In Germany

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-broke-it-you-fix-it dept.

Microsoft 226

hweimer writes "The German government plans on paying to set up a call center to help Windows users with malware infections. I think this has the effect of being a malware bailout for Microsoft, discouraging them and other software companies from writing better code and giving users little incentive to switch to more secure alternatives. How much government money is needed to run the call center is also not revealed." The call center, running in cooperation with ISPs (but not manufacturers), is envisioned to have a staff of about 40.

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226 comments

Not really (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370680)

I think this has the effect of being a malware bailout for Microsoft, discouraging them and other software companies from writing better code and giving users little incentives to switch to more secure alternatives.

I have to disagree with that. Malware problem is usually because of user stupidity. Like any other OS, you can run Windows securely if you don't do stupid things.

The thing is, as we don't care so much about how to properly feed, exercise and clean ponies, normal people don't care so much about computer security. They just want to do their thing. But now they would have a place they know they can seek help from, and who are giving helpful instructions how to not get infected anymore and how to solve their problem. Maybe those hints stick, maybe not, but at least they can get help with the problem (without calling over our fellow slashdotters all the time!)

But what is an interesting piece in the article (and somewhat worry-some)

Before the plans are implemented, however, a decision needs to be made on what sanctions customers who decline to cooperate with their ISP can be subjected to. According to an eco project manager, quoted by the dpa, "Anyone surfing without proper anti-virus software is endangering other web users, in the same way that a car driver driving with faulty brakes is endangering other road users."

I'm sure Symantec will hurray for that, but I don't want someone push an av software down my throat that I don't even need. Even less on my linux server. I really hope it only means those users who have been identified by the ISP to be sending spam out.

But the bottom line is, it's not a "bailout" for Microsoft. Malware goes where the users and money are and any kind of better code or secure alternatives cannot go around user stupidity. Linux is mostly secure from malware because the users generally are more geeky than the casual users on Windows and don't just random stuff from the internet. Repositories also help with this, but if Linux ever gained any actual desktop marketshare and casual users, the 3rd party applications/games/whatever that people want would be downloaded from the internet just the same way as on Windows. But any (good) Linux sysadmin knows there been worms in Linux too and remote hacks are commonplace if the system isn't properly secured (and casual users just wont do that).

What I heard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370738)

Is that Microsoft is introducing a new system, called Das Boot, which will allow you machine to boot up even if you drop it in the tub.

Re:What I heard (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371286)

If you actually RTFA (not the blog one, which is from the submitter himself), it never mentions Microsoft anywhere. Nor do the german press releases.

Re:Not really (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370754)

as we don't care so much about how to properly feed, exercise and clean ponies

On the contrary, I've had an inexplicable interest, some might even say obsession, with ponies since April 1, 2006.

Re:Not really (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370772)

1. This isn't the role of government.
2. No matter how much the apologists bray, the fact is that Windows has the most infections. The proof is in the pudding! Yes, user stupidity contributes to that... but it ignores deep design flaws in Windows itself! Will the infections ever go toward zero even with the best designs but dumbest users? No. But it sure doesn't excuse it being in the other extreme for Windows.

Re:Not really (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370870)

1. This isn't the role of government.

I'd normally be the first to agree, but isn't a large portion of malware used for criminal activity? Identity theft, botnets that engage in DDoS extortion attempts, spam relays, phishing, etc, etc. It seems to me that law enforcement (i.e: government) has a legitimate interest in reducing the number of malware infections that are out there.

Of course, a call center filled with follow the script support drones probably isn't the best way to go about doing that.......

Re:Not really (2, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371036)

Not really, governmental organizations are not so much interested in helping you clean up your malware-PC, but in funding the internet cops to trace and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The callcentre script drones will probably be fine - they'll tell everyone to run spybot, install an AV system, run windows updates and then take it to a repair centre or reinstall if symptoms persist.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370922)

If anything windows is now more secure than linux in the user space these days. For one, no user space programs can keylog your admin password with UAC. However they can keylog your root password with sudo.

Re:Not really (0)

camcorder (759720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371076)

Do you know what you're talking about? What prevents a keylogger to log a user password on windows that do not prevent it in Linux? On the other hand, you need a couple of clicks to infect a Windows box even with UAC, but with a regular Linux desktop it's much more hassle for an intruder to convince user to install and run the application. Not only this, but it's technically much more hard for user-space applications to store keypress events on terminal than any other Windows version ever existed.

Re:Not really (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371154)

Do you know what you're talking about? What prevents a keylogger to log a user password on windows that do not prevent it in Linux?

Well UAC is built-in to the system. Windows just disables sending the keys to other apps while user is presented with UAC dialog.

But what about when you're running a terminal screen on your X desktop in Linux and sudo to root. Linux kernel nor sudo can't disable the equivalent api's because X, terminal window and several other hooks need to be able to get them. That is a problem with a system build from blocks.

Re:Not really (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371340)

Perhaps you should have clarified that a software keylogger cannot intercept the password when user logging on, or in UAC elevation prompts. A hardware keylogger, quite obviously, doesn't care.

Re:Not really (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371556)

Yeah, it's not like we are discussing about malware or anything. Or that the GP said "no user space programs can keylog".

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371690)

Well UAC is built-in to the system. Windows just disables sending the keys to other apps while user is presented with UAC dialog.

Knowing MS I'd be inclined to expect it's trivial to break that, seeing as how every other security measure they've instituted has crumbled under attack.

But what about when you're running a terminal screen on your X desktop in Linux and sudo to root. Linux kernel nor sudo can't disable the equivalent api's because X, terminal window and several other hooks need to be able to get them. That is a problem with a system build from blocks.

You clearly don't have a good understanding of how these systems work. For one thing any app (even a software keylogger) has to have the proper permissions to run in *nix. It's not like windows, where every file in the system is executable. :) So in a *nix system, the only real vectors of attack are social engineering (trojans) and cracking. As most distros already have just about every kind of software needed in a secure repository, trojans are not common because there's little to no need to download software from a 3rd party. So while a trojan *could* be written for linux, it would have to be tailored to each distro and it would be so rarely downloaded that there'd be no real reward in it. As for cracking, that's a real danger in any OS.

It's true there are only secure users, no secure OSs, but it's also true some OSs (ms) are extremely difficult to secure properly. It may be easy to browse the web and get your email with pre-installed windows, but it's far easier to secure a *nix system. Anyone who says otherwise likely just isn't sufficiently experienced.

Re:Not really (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371166)

Perhaps so, but how many people let UAC run without considering what it is? You are far more likely to have a keylogger running on Windows than on Linux.
UAC does not stop most malware, anyway, as shown here: http://www.sophos.com/blogs/chetw/g/2009/11/03/windows-7-vulnerable-8-10-viruses/ and here: http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=175

Sudo, on the otherhand, is a far more secure solution.

Re:Not really (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371616)

But what do you need sudo for? Most malware that is trying to steal your info, send spam or whatever runs perfectly happy in user base.

You only need root access if you're trying to get control over the box, which is more of a hacking thing than what malware does.

Re:Not really (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371318)

This isn't the role of government.

The role of a democratic government is precisely what the voting citizens define it to be. No more, and no less.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371594)

The role of a democratic government is precisely what the voting citizens define it to be. No more, and no less.

No that's the role of the "tyranny of the majority" government. Not the liberal-democratic government.

Re:Not really (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371694)

No that's the role of the "tyranny of the majority" government. Not the liberal-democratic government.

"Tyranny of the majority" and "democracy" aren't incompatible. And I'm not sure where you've got the "liberal" part from, since it wasn't in my OP.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371442)

what a load of horse shit. 1. completely agree, it is not the role of the government. 2. utter bullshit. The vast majority of malware has absolutely NOTHING to do with the OS or its securty, if anything OSX and linux are far more vulnerable with far less protection from malware, at least windows provides a relatively useless prompt. What deep design flawes in Windows? people like to perpetuate this myth, the reality is the security design of windows is actually pretty good, there is a lot of useless crap in windows and I don't like the OS much but design wise for security it is significantly better than OSX and a little better than linux too, however the vast majority of users behave in a very unsecure fashion.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371464)

Yes, user stupidity contributes to that... but it ignores deep design flaws in Windows itself!

It's close to 2010, I wish people would stop saying stuff like that. The problem isn't "deep design flaws in Windows", the problem is sloppy coding, buffer overflows etc. Issues that exist in 99% of consumer softwares out there. Unfortunately, there are no easy and cost-effective ways of getting rid these problems, coders around the world are getting better at dealing with them, and the tools are also getting better but on the short/medium terms, it is utterly futile and naive to believe the situation can be easily corrected.

Saying that it's all Microsoft fault is a good way to play the blame game, but it doesn't address the problem at all. It's like saying that the poor are responsible for being poor - in many cases this may be true, but saying this won't fix the issue of poverty.

Re:Not really (1)

MBaldelli (808494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371468)

2. No matter how much the apologists bray, the fact is that Windows has the most infections. The proof is in the pudding! Yes, user stupidity contributes to that... but it ignores deep design flaws in Windows itself! Will the infections ever go toward zero even with the best designs but dumbest users? No. But it sure doesn't excuse it being in the other extreme for Windows.

I think you miss the perspective on the level of human stupidity that's out there using computers. On a day to day basis, from any of these categories at least 20 times a night from people calling in looking to connect their laptops to a Wi-Fi Hotspot in a Hotel:

My internet isn't working, send someone up now to fix my problem!!!

My name and room number don't match, I'm running Windows 97

I'm calling from Room xxxx please turn on the internet for this room (It's always on, this is why it's Wi-Fi just like at Starbuck's).

You mean I have to have my laptop on in order for me to use the Internet?

I'm running the newest Windows -- Windows 2007 -- and I can't get it to find any Wi-Fi Hotspot

What do you mean I have to pay for the network wire?! You need to comp me for that immediately!

I'm on my business' laptop and I don't know what I'm looking at, can you remote into my computer and show me?

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371566)

Time for me to play devil's advocate here:

Windows used to have some critical design flaws. XP had three main ones. ActiveX, no real user/administrator priv separation by default (although a clued user would fix that), and autorun.inf mindlessly executing anything on a CD without asking. Of course, there would be running without the XP firewall that would add a fourth issue.

However, Vista and Windows 7 fixed all these issues. The firewall is on by default. Vista doesn't just automatically run a CD's autorun script. ActiveX is pretty much turned off, and not even used if you use another browser. Finally, administrator and user rights are separated by UAC.

This is really something one can't compare fact for fact on. Is Windows attacked the most because it has weaknesses, or is it attacked the most because blackhats get the most bang for their buck due to the operating system's popularity?

Rewind to about 1991-1992. Back then, Linux was still being fleshed out, and was primarily a tinker's tool. In production, the main operating system you would encounter past the glass walls was SunOS 4.1.x or Solaris 2.x. Since the jump to Solaris 2 was such a big move for a lot of businesses, they stuck on 4.1.x. Of course, because SunOS was the #1 OS on the Internet, it was the #1 choice for crackers to attack. All the whining I see about Microsoft, I've seen almost verbatim aimed at commercial UNIX providing companies before Windows had an official TCP/IP stack.

As for user stupidy, you can always take functionality away in return for security. For example, you won't see much malware on a PS3 Slim because nobody has even gotten a crack or modchip going for it. However, it won't do much for a user other than play games on it (The Slim has no hypervisor to allow Linux to run.) On the other scale, if you sit an uneducated user at a Linux root prompt, they have the best footshooting tools in existance. Similar with a ChromeOS appliance. It won't have malware issues, but the tradeoff will be not having local apps or much local storage.

So, Microsoft may not be perfect, but Windows 7 is light years ahead of XP in security. With ASLR, full disk encryption, encrypted backup volumes, and downloadable antivirus, it can be argued that it is a generation ahead of OS X when it comes to security.

Re:Not really (3, Insightful)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370786)

Thanks for pointing out something actually interesting from the article and relevant to us /.'ers

As it is, the summary reads "A government decided to do something to help their less computer-savvy citizens. Here's my rant against microsoft with no bearing on reality. Please go to my blog."

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370794)

The thing is, as we don't care so much about how to properly feed, exercise and clean ponies, normal people don't care so much about computer security.

If I had a pony, I'd learn how to feed, exercise and clean it properly (or at the very least, hand over the reins of responsibility to someone who knew). Or to be more precise, if I had a pony that I told my bank details to, I'd learn how to stop it talking to strangers I didn't want it talking to. It boggles my mind that people can be so reckless with their possessions and even financial security when learning is free.

Sorry for the o/t.

Re:Not really (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371274)

O/T? Not OT... It's the first thing I thought when seeing the analogy. The reason we do not care about how to care about ponies is because we don't have any! But we're on slashdot, take a car analogy. Most people have a car.... Those who do not know to maintain it, go to the dealership or their trusted mechanic. Mechanics maintain their own cars. We are the computer equivalent of mechanics: we make sure machines run. However, in the public perception, a computer is an appliance and doesn't need maintenance.

To be honest, in my experience you can run Windows as Limited user completely (you just have to know how). This would be the equivalent of being a driver but not a mechanic.

That this doesn't happen is because people will never pay someone to check up their computers every 3 months or so.

Re:Not really (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370844)

I think this has the effect of being a malware bailout for Microsoft, discouraging them and other software companies from writing better code and giving users little incentives to switch to more secure alternatives.

Does he also think that hospitals treating the sick discourage people from taking steps to stay healthy?

If people do indeed get help from this it will be money well spent. Period.

Windows is vulnerable because that is profitable. (0, Flamebait)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370884)

"Malware problem is usually because of user stupidity."

Does that mean users of Apple computers are far smarter than users of Windows computers?

Anyhow, maybe when people call the call center number, they will hear, in German, "Dummy! Get Linux. Or, at least Apple."

That's a joke, but it could go in that direction. People at the call center could educate callers that the apparent reason Microsoft products have so many vulnerabilities is that Microsoft top managers don't allow Microsoft programmers to finish their work. Unfinished, vulnerable, buggy, limited software makes more money when a company has a virtual monopoly because then the company can sell "upgrades" and upgrades and upgrades and ....

Re:Windows is vulnerable because that is profitabl (3, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370938)

Does that mean users of Apple computers are far smarter than users of Windows computers?

Well duh. They picked Apple, didn't they?

/me ducks

Re:Windows is vulnerable because that is profitabl (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371126)

Apple users don't do actually anything with their machine. They're fashion accessories to be placed around their gay-pads like 70s fluffy cushions, merely to show off to their gay friends that they sheep like the rest of them.

If you subsidize stupidity... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370920)

...you get more of it.

Re:Not really (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370964)

Hey! Don't knock Windows! I make a lot of money cleaning infections from MS products...

On the other hand, removing infections from Windows is kinda like disinfecting a toilet. It just won't last... The more interesting thing is that the German gov. is taking employment away from pc repairers.

Government provides product specific help for free (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370998)

I fail to see how government specific help around one specific product from one specific company, is not a bailout. They are reducing Microsoft support costs, pure and simple...

How would it fly if the government were spending money to pay for gas for one specific brand of car?

Re:Government provides product specific help for f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371264)

they aren't really reducing Microsoft's support costs much, if at all, because Microsoft doesn't give free phone support. You do need to pay for it. I assume that the amount they have you pay covers the costs of said support.

Re:Not really (2, Funny)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371042)

The thing is, as we don't care so much about how to properly feed, exercise and clean ponies, normal people don't care so much about computer security. They just want to do their thing.

So... are you suggesting that you just want to.... "do your thing" with a pony?

Re:Not really (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371044)

I have to disagree with that. Malware problem is usually because of user stupidity. Like any other OS, you can run Windows securely if you don't do stupid things.

Agreed; Mac users are no more bright, so they should set up a call center for Mac OS X malware infections too, though they could staff it less, perhaps with one person. Oh wait, Mac OS X doesn't have the malware level as Windows, even given the same level of user carelessness.

Re:Not really (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371330)

I have to disagree with that. Malware problem is usually because of user stupidity. Like any other OS, you can run Windows securely if you don't do stupid things.

Agreed; Mac users are no more bright, so they should set up a call center for Mac OS X malware infections too, though they could staff it less, perhaps with one person. Oh wait, Mac OS X doesn't have the malware level as Windows, even given the same level of user carelessness.

People used to say this about FireFox as well. Until reported vulnerabilities started skyrocketing when it passed around 15% market share. You could assume that the codebase and security practices of FF devs suddenly deteriorated, or we can speak again if/when Mac's at least triple their current market share.

Re:Not really (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371050)

No, the article is pretty clear that the ISP will use patterns (not the existence or presence of antivirus, which they really couldn't detect effectively anyway) to determine if a computer is infected with a bot.

The first step will be to contact the infected user and/or put up a custom web page that they will default to letting them know about the infection. That will be done by the ISP. The ISP will then refer them to the new advisory center to get the infection cleaned up.

I think part of the advice would be "get some antivirus software in place" but I doubt they'd enforce it. Though I imagine there may be some sort of action taken against people who refuse to fix their malware issues and are sending out spam or attacks, which affect other people on the network and the Internet as a whole. That was where the worrisome part you referred to came in - but the German government hasn't decided IF they are going to impose sanctions, much less what form they would take.

It may be as simple as shutting off their connection and mailing them a disk containing a free antivirus solution (AVG-Free, Avast, etc), then having them call to have their connection turned back on once the software is installed, or giving them access to a more limited set of URLs they could use to download anti-virus/anti-malware software then unlock the rest of the connection once the user called and stated that they had antivirus in place.

Re:Not really (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371146)

For the most part I tend to agree. Any user installed Trojan is the users responsibly.
If the malware gets installed through an exploit then it is the OS/Applications fault.
In a good amount of cases it is no longer Microsoft's fault.

Re:Not really (-1, Troll)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371672)

Any user installed Trojan is the users responsibly.

This is such a bullshit answer. a) define user installed. Do you mean they clicked in the wrong place in an IE frame b) much more fundamental: in the old days, we used to send messages around saying "don't be stupid; you can't get a virus from email". The reason for that was simple; it was true. Then Microsoft invented outlook and executable attachments and so on and so forth. Basic security mechanisms that made it difficult for users to accidentally execute code were bypassed for ease of use. This was done for no reason other than marketing advantage and specifically bypassed standard windows software install mechanisms. As such user installed software is an exploit.

Re:Not really (2, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371276)

There is one platform out there that's resistant to the dancing bunnies problem.

The iPhone.

Unfortunately, that's the only way to be resistant to it - don't allow third-party software unless it's been inspected by real people whose job it is to inspect it.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371438)

There is one platform out there that's resistant to the dancing bunnies problem.

The iPhone.

Unfortunately, that's the only way to be resistant to it - don't allow third-party software unless it's been inspected by real people whose job it is to inspect it.

There's an app for that. http://nexus404.com/Blog/2009/12/05/report-says-iphones-are-subject-to-spywaremalware-infection-non-jailbroken-iphones-not-as-safe-as-expected/ [nexus404.com]

Re:Not really (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371298)

Like any other OS, you can run Windows securely if you don't do stupid things.

Like any car, you can parallel park an 18-wheeler, if you are careful enough.

Sure, you can do it. Some OSes just make it easier, and some make it a challenge. I dare say Windos (any version) is in the later category. Heck, it usually comes with a fine selection of ad- and spyware pre-installed thanks to your friendly OEM.

I have to agree to a point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371342)

> Malware problem is usually because of user stupidity. Like any other OS, you can run Windows securely if you don't do stupid things.

I kinda agree.

It's stupid to run Windows.

So, if someone uses Windows -- that's a stupid thing to do.

Using Windows and doing complicated rituals to keep secure is even more stupid -- also because it's futile.

So there. Good night.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371358)

I have to disagree with that. Malware problem is usually because of user stupidity. Like any other OS, you can run Windows securely if you don't do stupid things.

By "stupid things", do you mean "surfing the internet on a computer that has Flash or Acrobat installed"? It's rather short-sighted to declare that all infections of the various forms of malware are always and only user initiated.

Re:Not really (0, Troll)

Kilz (741999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371430)

I have to disagree with that. Malware problem is usually because of user stupidity. Like any other OS, you can run Windows securely if you don't do stupid things.

Yes like
1. Spend money to run anti programs to fill in the holes left by bad code.
2. Dont download anything.
3. Dont use IE.
4. or simply unplug the computer from the internet.

But most people refuse to do any of those things. Then again they could just give Microsoft the boot.

Re:Not really (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371548)

Spend money? Why would you do that when the free anti-virus softwares are far superior to their commercial counterparts. As for the rest of your options the only one that's even remotely valid is not using IE, I presume your 2nd and 4th options are just jokes.

Signed a windows user who has never been infected (and has checked his logs recently to verify that fact).

Dumbfounded (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370702)

This is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. Is this just a government make work project or something?

Re:Dumbfounded (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370744)

This is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. Is this just a government make work project or something?

My income is based on government make work projects you insensitive clod!

Re:Dumbfounded (3, Funny)

Cyrus20 (1345311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370824)

and my income is based on "that is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard." yep I work in a call center

Re:Dumbfounded (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370906)

My income is based on government make work projects you insensitive clod!

So do you work for DOT and vote Democrat or for a defense contractor and vote Republican? ;)

Re:Dumbfounded (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370828)

Is this just a government make work project or something?

One could argue that will save the government work in the long run, given that many malware installations are used for criminal activity ranging from identity theft to extortion.

Of course that doesn't mean it isn't a make work project or that this is the best way to go about combating the malware threat.

Weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370706)

This has got to be one of the weakest arguments posted on Slashdot in recent memory. Thanks for the laugh

Yea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370718)

I think you are full of shit, what ever the most popular general USER, and USER friendly operating system is will have the highest rate of malware infection.

wrong funding strategy (0, Troll)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370756)

It should be funded by the ISPs. The ISPs should be free to charge end users rates based on the OS the end user is doing.

Like insurance rates for different drivers of different cars as end users present threats to the net based on their OS and experience the rates charged to support a malware elimination office should depend on what is being connected.

Re:wrong funding strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370804)

So in other words the ISP is going to charge me based on the operating system found on my router?

Re:wrong funding strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370854)

And my half a dozen linux machines and two windows ones would be charged...?

Would my Windows machines be charged extra, even though they've NEVER had malware? Ever? (And yes, unlike so many who claim such, I DO have a virus scanner, even though it's so far been unnecessary).

Re:wrong funding strategy (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371064)

All of the problems with multiple computers and OS's behind a single internet line beside, they would never do it that complicated but just charge the extra fees from all users equally.

Re:wrong funding strategy (1)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370856)

Yes very much so! Since this is publicly funded, there should be a different system. Imagine if users accumulated "demerit" points for bad computer practise and getting their computers infected, resulting in ISPs charging them more. This might actually help to encourage people to educate themselves better too. Of course, like with driving, it could be lessened with good behaviour over time, or using antivirus.

Re:wrong funding strategy (3, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371052)

The ISPs should be free to charge end users rates based on the OS the end user is doing.

Are you completely insane? (And I'm asking that in the friendliest voice.)

Do you have any idea just how quickly that would turn into unprovable organized crime?

Because after all, this scenario could happen very quickly: OS Company A goes to the ISP X, and cites incentives, rebates or outright kickbacks for lower rates for OS A - while OS B and OS C are surcharged. An especially effective scenario if OS Company A just happens to be the one with the most trouble - and the most cash to throw around to shore up market share.

And OS Company A even helps the ISP with metrics to show that they're product is better / safer - whether it is or not. Example - 80% of all of one ISP's malware troubles come from OS A. (In the pretend-reality of my example, it could be coming from a handful of lost souls). But - OS A has a 90% market share - so it's mal-rate of 80% being less than the market penetration of 90% makes it .... better.

And how would OS B or C make up for the other 20% of hits? OS A would simply have to put a purposefully-infected - heavily infected - OS B or OS C machine on that ISP's net - and the lie with statistics is complete.

Like insurance rates for different drivers of different cars as end users present threats to the net based on their OS and experience the rates charged to support a malware elimination office should depend on what is being connected.

You get much better insurance than I do. In the USA, they tell us that that's what the rates are based on - but in reality, nothing I drive never ends up with an insurance reduction.

They take you for every nickel that they can imagine ways to justify and get from you.

Re:wrong funding strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371368)

as long as you can keep microsoft from coercing isp's to charge more to people using non MS operating systems.

Re:wrong funding strategy (1)

omfglearntoplay (1163771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371536)

I would just like to say that in no way is it possible for 40 people to put a dent in the amount of malware problems an entire country would have unless everyone that calls actually takes notes and learns what not to do. In other words, not gonna happen. But I have to say, it's a noble effort. God knows malware drives sales of new computers like nothing else, and it's basically just money lost for the poor average soul. Not that I have tons of sympathy for users that don't want to learn anything, but a lot of people out there have real lives with families and simply don't have a good resource to even get started off on the right foot.

Someone translate to German... (0, Flamebait)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370758)

Step 1: Back up your data.
Step 2: Install SUSE Linux.
Step 3: Profit?
Step 4: Laugh at Microsoft. [schadenfreude here]

Re:Someone translate to German... (2, Funny)

d34dluk3 (1659991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370944)

Step 1: Back up your data. Step 2: Install SUSE Linux. Step 3: Profit? Step 4: Laugh at Microsoft. [schadenfreude here]

schadenfreude

I got this part:

schadenfreude

"Hello, Malware center".. (1, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370780)

"Hi, I'm calling about malware on my PC"?

"Buy a Mac". <click>

Re:"Hello, Malware center".. (1, Flamebait)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371196)

I would think someone with a low UID wouldn't get into stupid practices like flame baiting... *sigh*

Hey... (1, Troll)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371290)

You can buy UIDs too.

Usually people go for those 3-digit UIDs but not everyone has the money for that.
Generally, if you have money to buy Apple products, you have a habit of solving your problems by shopping and you have money to spare.

But oddly you can't buy intelligence (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371574)

You can buy UIDs too.

Indeed, but why would I do so since I am perfectly happy with this one?

Unless, SuperKendall is really like the Dread Pirate Roberts. Confidentially, you just lost your spot in line there.

Generally, if you have money to buy Apple products, you have a habit of solving your problems by shopping and you have money to spare.

Oddly, I value my time (and UNIX) far more than money which is why I have Mac products to begin with. But do feel free to fritter your time away on "cheaper" PC's (that you buy twice as often) so that you can afford to buy a lower ID than mine and "win"!

Humor (1, Offtopic)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371520)

That's quality humor son, not flamebait.

If you doubt my ID ownership read back as far as you like and I think you'll find a pleasing consistency of tone and thought.

Re:"Hello, Malware center".. (4, Funny)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371366)

"Hi, I'm calling about malware on my PC"?

"Buy a Mac". *click*

Same caller a while later:

"Hi, I've bought a Mac and installed XP on it, but, ugh... it seems to be slow again..."

Bad at following directions (1)

Faaln (1004586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370810)

Unfortunately none of those calling in will be following the one step solution; stop going to German porn sites on a windows box.

Too small a staff (1)

Scholasticus (567646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370858)

With a staff of 40, they'll be swamped. I don't even work in IT, and I get 5-10 calls a week from family members and "friends" who want me to help them remove viruses and spyware from their machines (some I help, some I don't). Nobody will be able to get through, even with an automated system to help those who know at least a little about what to do.

Re:Too small a staff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370942)

you must have some nasty, dirty friends if they're having that much trouble with evilware

Re:Too small a staff (1)

Faaln (1004586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370974)

My main problem is that, if they're anything like the people I've had to work with, they won't call in until it's so bad they need a clean OS install anyway and then the call will probably turn into a long conversation about back up options for their documents and files(some of which are probably infected and will rape the new install soon enough).

Re:Too small a staff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30370986)

40 people will be able to get through at any one time.

Re:Too small a staff (3, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371184)

This is not an open support desk, at least that's not what the article describes. This is a "referral of last resort" from an ISP to this support desk. In your case, you'd probably still field most of the calls, but your friends and family would say "my Internet people just called me and said I have worms or a cold or something, and that they'll stop my Internet unless I fix it. Help!"

Based on what I'm reading in the article, here's how a general fix would go:

1. ISP detects malware patterns coming from one of their users.
2. ISP contacts customer, says "you appear to have a virus that is doing bad things on the network. Please fix it." or pops a web page with the same message and probably a link to an antivirus solution.
3. (assuming user doesn't know how to install AV software) ISP refers customer to government call center.

If the customer refuses to fix the problem or turns out to be unable to do so even with help, then the German government needs to figure out what they want to do. Shut the user off? Attempt to have the ISP block the malware with port blocking? Some interesting and perhaps disturbing possibilities there.

Re:Too small a staff (1)

REggert (823158) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371676)

ISP contacts customer, says "you appear to have a virus that is doing bad things on the network. Please fix it." or pops a web page with the same message and probably a link to an antivirus solution.

Popping up a web page would be an extraordinarily bad idea, given how many popup/banner ads, malicious web pages, and adware are already out there selling fake antivirus software.

Re:Too small a staff (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371394)

Sorry, but if you get 5-10 calls a week you are doing it wrong. The first thing I tell people I help is that they'll lose admin and they'll have to go through me for anything they want to install and that I'm not Santa Claus and will reject stuff. Those that accept, will run Limited User and I only hear from them when they do need new software. I will do that gladly and run the complimentary system check which never turns up anything wrong. The others who don't want to play by the rules, and -well, it was their choice- lost my support and won't call.

Manage family and friends like a small business. It's the only way.

Meh, no big deal (1)

straponego (521991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370892)

I mean, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of lifetimes we as a species have already lost to Microsoft's pathetic security. The entire industry is about ten years behind where it would have been had we not had MS fighting virtually every innovation we now take for granted-- the Internet, multitasking, multiuser, open source, open standards, basic security (you don't try eating everything that looks like it'd fit in your mouth... why should you execute every piece of data you find on the internet, as Admin...).

We'd be much better off if we'd just sent them the same amount they profited without ever using their products. We'd have months of our lives back, and lower blood pressure.

It doesn't say "for Microsoft" (5, Informative)

Bert612 (1672270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370934)

The press release doesn't mention Microsoft. In fact it states that this new service is for all users with all operating systems. So while indeed 99% of all users run Microsoft, niche systems like Linux and Mac will be helped too. A good idea which will hopefully help improve internet safety for those users who just don't understand the technology they are using, but want to be on the net just like everybody else.

Re:It doesn't say "for Microsoft" (4, Funny)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371156)

In fact it states that this new service is for all users with all operating systems. So while indeed 99% of all users run Microsoft, niche systems like Linux and Mac will be helped too.

I like the way you think.

It's very different from the support centers that I call with hardware problems - like when an update bricked my router - that suggested I:

a) re-install Linux to fix the problem,
alternately, b) don't use a Mac, because they don't do REAL networking,
c) if I were only using Windows, I wouldn't be having this problem,

and my favorite -

d) I must be lying because no one has three operating systems in their house - and if I do, then maybe that's what bricked my router.

But - as I said, I like the way you think, and I wish them many good lucks with this endeavor.

Lost in translation (3, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370956)

Hmmm..... Neither headline nor summary fits the news. Nothing in the quoted article mentions windows. The article itself is focussing on a small aspect of what is being discussed. Some parts of the discussion would be very negative for Windows users. E.g. it is being discussed to disconnect users from the Internet who don't fix their PCs when attacks originate from them. I don't agree with a lot of things discussed, but they didn't do anything to deserve a /. summary like this.

CU, Martin

Bailout for economy (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30370996)

This is not a bailout for Microsoft, it's a bailout for German economy in order to decrease unemployment. Because exhausted call center employees will force government to hire more staff. If they aim to keep lines open for calls that would surely bring the unemployment in Germany to pre-recession levels.

Further Information about the Plan (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371016)

"Users will be asked to boot from a 'Live CD' to assist them through the cleanup. Once the user boots from the CD-ROM, they will be guided through the process of removing their useless old operating system and optionally install a true working operating system in its place." - article.
"...close to 100% of windows PC's are part of a larger, malicious botnet. Most come with this option pre-installed by default..." - adjective

S.T.O. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371208)

...giving users little incentive to switch to more secure alternatives.

...giving users little incentive to switch to more obscure alternatives.

Fixed that for you.

better code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30371384)

Malware is **not** badly written code. Badly written code is just bad code.

Malware is code written with explicit malevolent intent. And usually takes a hell of a lot more skill to write than a simple app, because it requires intimate
system knowledge and low level programming in order to avoid detection.

If malware == bad code, then all the coders in this world (except John Carmak) are guilty of writing malware at some point in out lives.

He who has not written bad code, throw the first stone.

So AAA is a bailout for Ford Motors? (3, Informative)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371406)

Sorry, but helping the clueless or unfortunate users from something that wasn't created, distributed, or sanctioned by Microsoft isn't a Microsoft Bailout even if the users are running MS Windows.

If Macs were the big dog in the OS world, would you then be calling it an Apple Bailout?

By the way, don't buy into the apple myths. They have malware and bugs aplenty, they just don't have enough population density to encourage easy transmittal, or even be a tempting target for malware creators. Those scum want to get as many machines as possible, so only niche diehards or those who want to prove a point bother to infect anything with less than a 40% market share. Guess what that means... yeah, that's right, they go after Windows. If you flip-flop the percentages, you'll see a total shift in what they target. And that's not guesswork or rhetoric.

Personally I know of many reasons to complain about Microsoft, and Apple, and the Linux community. None are perfect, and all have nuts, fanatics, and total wackjobs. Pick your poison and learn how to use it safely.

40 staffs? I suggest 0 instead. (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371522)

"Thank you for calling the malware eradication center. Please wait while we look up the address associated with the number you are calling from. Press # to manually enter an address."

...

"Your address has been located and your will receive your free ubuntu CD within 2 business days. Thank you and have a nice day."

Malware (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371640)

Malware is not the same thing as viruses. No amount of security in the operating system will save the user from getting a malware infection if he clicks "Yes" to anything. Unless the OS is locked down to the point of not being able to install anything.

Will it actually work? (3, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30371678)

I've been cleaning up other people's infected Windows machines for longer than I have wanted to. It seems like nine times out of ten, the only way to ensure that the computer is clean after it gets infected is to do a complete pave and rebuild of the OS. That level of complexity isn't something that a tech support person can walk an average user through over the phone. Forget about backing up the data beforehand, or re-installing the applications after the fact.

I like the idea. The way that the article is worded is complete flamebait though. I think we can all agree that steps need to be taken to reduce the number of malware infected Windows boxes on the internet. Doing so makes the internet a better place for everyone. It just seems to me like the Germans are taking on an impossible task. Once a Windows box is owned, it stays owned.

On a related tangent, I think things could be better if ISPs institute the equivalent of a "good driver discount". Give the owners of clean computers a discount on their monthly service fee. I'm not an economist, but it seems like it would need to be enough of a discount to cover the cost of having a "professional" setup the computer right in the first place. I see advertisements where I live that claim to clean malware infected computers for $30-50. So a discount of $5 a month seems about right. On the other hand, if the discount isn't high enough, then the incentive won't be strong enough to encourage people to keep their computers clean. At that point maybe the ISPs need a stick, instead of a carrot. Perhaps throttling the connection, or re-directing to a subset of URLs for how to deal with malware infections.

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