More FUD for Windows Vista

Microsoft demonstrates that an ancient computer running Windows XP SP1 with no protection at all can be hacked. Stop the presses.

Are you kidding me? ZDNet takes something that has been common knowledge for years and treats it as if it was news?

I'm speaking of the dog and pony show that Tom Espiner wrote about on November 13th with the eye catching headline Microsoft exec calls XP hack 'frightening'. Great headline, it got my attention.

The computer in question was running Windows XP with Service Pack 1 and was connected to an unsecured wireless network. Adding more vulnerabilities to the mix, "The machine was running no antivirus, firewall, or anti-spyware software..." according to Mr. Espiner.

I'd be afraid to be in the same room with such an obviously vulnerable machine. So, when in a demonstration, the machine got hacked, where is the news? Even to a blogger, what is there to have an opinion on? The outcome was as predictable as the sun rising in the morning.

The interesting question, is why invite the press to a demonstration of the obvious?

The term FUD has been mentioned in this blog before. It stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt and refers to tactics used to sell a product that isn't good enough to sell itself.

This was FUD for Vista, designed to scare people away from Windows XP. People who don't know any better. Two people who do know better were the techies in England that were involved in the demo. Both chose to remain anonymous. I don't' blame them.

Mr. Espiner writes "Nick McGrath, head of platform strategy for Microsoft U.K., was surprised by the incident." He was? Really? I wonder if Microsoft knows how bad things like this make them look. Even Alex Rodriguez eventually wised up.

I've written previously that anyone buying a new Windows computer should opt for XP rather than Vista:

A stunt like this says a lot about Vista.

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About the author

    Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

    He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.

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