Microsoft Security Notices: A Double Standard on Spam?
What exactly is Microsoft's policy towards spammers? Security Supersite Editor Larry Seltzer wonders if the company really authorized a known spammer to send out security notices in violation of its own policy?One of the mailing lists I read carefully is SecurityFocuss excellent Focus-MS list. In the aftermath of Microsofts disclosure in July of the infamous RPC/DCOM vulnerability and its patch release (known in MS security jargon as MS03-026), an interesting discussion arose on Focus-MS about Microsofts efforts to publicize the disclosure and patch. A reader said he had received a broadcast e-mail, apparently from Microsoft, reminding him of the MS03-026 problem and patch. But the message came from email@example.com. This raised his suspicion, since the details of the message header looked as if the message hadnt originated with Microsoft.
When he and others on the list started investigating the matter further it got even fishier: Surf to email.microsoft.com and you arrive at a page on the site of
http://www.microsoft.com/security/security_bulletins/ms03-026.asp</A> A Microsoft rep on the microsoft.public.security newsgroup said the message was not a hoax. I might be naive here, but Im inclined to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. After all, it is a big company and whoever is in charge of dealing with spam doesnt know about this relationship. But on the other hand, its hard to look at Microsofts description of their relationship with Digital Impact and believe they didnt know who they were dealing with. "THE premier provider of online direct marketing solutions for enterprises"? Sounds like Internet marketer code words for "spammer" to me. Security Supersite Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983.