Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 31/3/2004"Windows 95 was a joke." So saith Frederico Baumhardt today, senior consultant for infrastructure and security.

Wednesday 31/3/2004
"Windows 95 was a joke." So saith Frederico Baumhardt today, senior consultant for infrastructure and security. I doubt there'd be much disagreement among the cognoscenti -- there certainly wasn't in the audience of security professionals at the event addressed by Mr B. The only surprise is that it was a Microsoft event and Frederico the Frank is a Microsoft employee.

His talk -- as exclusively revealed to ZDNet UK by a security professional in slack-jawed attendance -- continued in much the same vein. 95 was a way to hook desktop bits together, which it did, but with no inkling that anything nasty would ever slither along into the Gatesian garden of Eden. When the Internet turned up, it was a ten-lane blacktop highway to Hell -- and when the good folks at Microsoft rushed to defend the walls of the 95 Village, they discovered that not only had they forgotten to build the walls, the houses didn't have any locks and even the safe in the village bank had a Welcome mat outside.

I exaggerate, but not by much. Not content with vividly describing the state of play then, Baumhardt proceeded to point out flaws in firewalls, IP addressing, tunnelling, and just about every normal security assumption under the sun. It was very entertaining, although my spy reported with a sigh that as he got closer to the present day the critiques of MS products grew ever fainter.

The final conclusion? Old-fashioned ideas are as much a problem as old-fashioned technology when it comes to protecting us all against the evil hordes.

All fine and dandy, and there's no doubt that in Frederico Microsoft has a fine security guy. But if the company's going to start admitting the same things that everyone's been saying for years, we could be in for a lot more dropped jaws in the near future.

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