CCIA wants U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to reconsider buying ‘insecure Microsoft software’

“The US Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has sent a letter to Tom Ridge, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, urging the department to stop using insecure software,” The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The CCIA was referring to the recent decision by the Department to buy $US90 million worth of Microsoft software that involves around 140,000 desktops. The CCIA is a non-profit membership organization for companies and senior executives from diverse sectors of the computer and communications industry.

“We believe that the Department should lead by example, and ensure that it uses only the most secure technology, software, and procedures. The Department’s decision does not foster confidence that this goal is being realized,” the CCIA states in the press release.

“Design flaws in Microsoft’s products have recently been responsible for temporary closure of Maryland’s Department of Motor Vehicles offices, failure of the passenger check-in system at Air Canada, an intrusion on the Navy-Marine intranet, and cancellations and suspensions of service on the CSX railroad. Additionally, a Microsoft exploit managed to disable a safety monitoring system at an off-line nuclear power plant,” CCIA states.

“These vulnerabilities and exploits are not new, and unfortunately were predictable. CCIA believes it is critical to maintain secure systems to protect homeland security, and so CCIA has asked the Department to reconsider its decision to promote Microsoft as the default software for DHS. Reliance on a company that distributes products known to have such serious vulnerabilities will not provide adequate security and stability to protect of our nation’s most important computer systems,” CCIA states.

The fill CCIA letter (.pdf) to Tim Ridge is here. [Attribution: The Sydney Morning Herald]

Related MacDailyNews article:
“Apple’s Mac OS X added to U.S. government list of supported platforms” – August 28, 2003

29 Comments

  1. I can see the political cartoon now, Mr’s Gates (the waiter) serving Mr. Ridge (the patron) a big piece of smelly swiss cheese on a platter with Microsoft and Security slogans tagged to the cheese ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue laugh” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Security is useless if it is difficult to use. Who else, besides Apple (Panther), offers the following integrated into the OS (as it should be) rather as some cumbersome add-on from a 3rd party?…

    – Homeland security –
    FileVault secures your home directory by encrypting its entire contents using the Advanced Encryption Standard with 128-bit keys. This high-performance algorithm automatically encrypts and decrypts on the fly, so you don�t even know it�s happening.

    – Permanent deletion –
    Now you can completely erase sensitive files you no longer need. When you delete a file or folder, Secure Erase Trash makes sure that it no longer exists. Traditional file deleting simply removes the file name from the disk directory but leaves the file data in place. Secure Erase Trash immediately overwrites the file with random data [7 times], so that the file disappears and cannot be reconstructed.

    [http://www.apple.com/macosx/panther/file_vault.html]

    You would think agencies that require REAL security would jump at this!!

  3. This is the perfect example of what is wrong with the Bush administration. They call an organization “Homeland Security” and they go the exact opposite direction in execution. Just like “No Child Left Behind” has a policy of closing low-performing schools. How stupid is that? What are those kids supposed to do? Get jobs? We couldn’t possibly put some money in there. No, NO TAXES is their mantra – regardless of the consequences. Next the Labor Department will start setting up sweat shops instead of closing them. So the kids can be kept out of trouble.

  4. I doubt DHS will drop MS.

    Gates will say that Server 2003 or Longhorn is the most secure OS and MS is American like Apple pie. Tom Ridge does not seem like the guy to back down from a decision he personally made after having a personal meeting with Gates. There was no review or bids by competing companies. Just a one on one meeting.

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