U.S. State Department computers infiltrated via Microsoft software flaw

Apple Store“A break-in targeting State Department computers worldwide last summer occurred after a department employee in Asia opened a mysterious e-mail that quietly allowed hackers inside the U.S. government’s network,” Ted Bridis reports for The Associated Press.

Bridis reports, “In the first public account revealing details about the intrusion and the government’s hurried behind-the-scenes response, a senior State Department official described an elaborate ploy by sophisticated international hackers. They used a secret break-in technique that exploited a design flaw in Microsoft software.”

“Consumers using the same software remained vulnerable until months afterward,” Bridis reports. “Donald R. Reid, the senior security coordinator for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, also confirmed that a limited amount of U.S. government data was stolen by the hackers until tripwires severed all the State Department’s Internet connections throughout eastern Asia. The shut-off left U.S. government offices without Internet access in the tense weeks preceding missile tests by North Korea.”

Bridis reports, “The mysterious State Department e-mail appeared to be legitimate and included a Microsoft Word document with material from a congressional speech related to Asian diplomacy, Reid said. By opening the document, the employee activated hidden software commands establishing what Reid described as backdoor communications with the hackers.”

“The technique exploited a previously unknown design flaw in Microsoft’s Office software, Reid said. State Department officials worked with the Homeland Security Department and even the FBI to urge Microsoft to develop quickly a protective software patch, but the company did not offer the patch until Aug. 8 – roughly eight weeks after the break-in,” Bridis reports. “Microsoft said it works as quickly as possible to provide customers with security updates.”

Full article here.
You’ve got morons in government and then you’ve got the true idiots who choose their software. Note to U.S. gov’t: Microsoft sucks. Sheesh.

To whomever thought up the brilliant idea to utilize Microsoft’s junk that isn’t even fit for Wal-Mart consumers’ use in the State Department: It’s amazing you can even breathe and blink and such, as even involuntary actions require a some brain cells. Is it painful to be so morbidly retarded? Or are you just blissfully unaware of everything and anything 24/7?

If the State Department used Macs instead, none of this would have happened – and that’s a fact.

Related articles (warning may contain some irony):
U.S. National Security Agency works with Apple, Microsoft, others on OS security – January 09, 2007
US Department of Homeland Security’s border screening system was crashed by Windows Zotob worm – November 03, 2006
US Department of Homeland Security: patch Microsoft Windows now or risk complete system compromise – August 10, 2006
Get a Mac: Viruses, spyware cost U.S. consumers $7.8 billion over last two years – August 08, 2006
Symantec details more security holes in Microsoft’s Windows Vista – July 26, 2006
Symantec researcher: At this time, there are no file-infecting viruses that can infect Mac OS X – July 13, 2006
FBI: Viruses, spyware, other computer-related crimes cost U.S. businesses $67.2 billion per year – February 01, 2006
U.S. Copyright Office: Use only the world’s most insecure browser to secure your copyright – August 17, 2005
Microsoft seeks to create ‘community of governments’ to battle Windows viruses, worms, etc. – February 04, 2005
80,000 UK government computers knocked out in Microsoft Windows crash – November 28, 2004
Axcess Business News: Is the U.S. government ‘too dependent on Microsoft?’ – September 26, 2003
Baltimore Sun columnist suggests adding Mac OS X to mix of government computers for safety – September 17, 2003
US Gov’t warns of Internet attacks after new Windows flaw revealed – September 11, 2003
CCIA wants U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to reconsider buying ‘insecure Microsoft software’ – August 29, 2003
Apple’s Mac OS X added to U.S. government list of supported platforms – August 28, 2003
U.S. Department of Homeland Security says Windows vulnerable to attack – August 01, 2003
Department of Homeland Security chose Microsoft due to time and money limitations – July 21, 2003
U.S. Department of Homeland Security awards enterprise agreement to Microsoft – July 15, 2003

40 Comments

  1. When will Microsoft be held accountable and liable for their shoddy software??? If an auto manufacturer builds a defective car, or an aerospace firm builds a flawed pain that harms individuals or their safety, then the government steps in (as well as the lawyers) and things get fixed. But for some reason, people’s IQs fall into the low teens when it comes to computers and their role in the safety of many, many people.

  2. if they don’t get macs, they ought to at least get linux on those PCs. this shouldn’t be a matter of “we want them to switch to mac”, it should be “we want them to keep information SECURE, so we want them to switch to anything that isn’t windows-based”.

    let’s send them our old commodore 64’s and apple ii’s. =)

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