Windows 98 to become hacker's paradise

By Derek Sooman on June 14, 2006, 3:04 PM
Still using Windows 98? I'd seriously think about upgrading to XP if I was you - if you ever connect your machine to the Internet, that is. Microsoft is currently defending its decision not to patch a critical security flaw in Windows 98, and support for the operating system officially ends in less than a month's time.

Recently, a vulnerability was discovered in Windows Explorer and the way it handles Component Object Model objects, which could have been exploited by malicious hackers. Updates correcting the flaw were issued for Windows 2000, XP and Windows Server 2003, but Windows 98 remains unfixed. Why? Well it appears that Microsoft has just left the OS behind, but of course they had something more tolerable to say on the matter.

"Due to these fundamental differences, these changes would require re-engineering a significant amount of a critical core component of the operating system," Christopher Budd, Microsoft Response Center security program manager, said.

"After extensive investigation, Microsoft has found that it is not feasible to make the extensive changes necessary ... to eliminate the vulnerability," he said.

Windows 98 is not the only version of Windows that's on security death row - Microsoft support for Windows XP SP1 will expire on October 11 2006, forcing users of that OS to upgrade to service pack 2 if they are to remain secure.




User Comments: 18

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AtomicMatter said:
Don't forget if you have an old operating system and you are worried about security matters, you could always look on Google for a decent guide for complete beginners on downloading, setting up and using Free BSD, still the undisputed king of secure free operating systems.Or if online guides aren't your thing, 15 would get you a decent beginner's guide to the operating system, cheaper than upgrading to windows xp. It would tell you where to get it, how to install it, how to use it and would get you started using free open software to do all the things you would want to do on an office computer.Not the most straightforward of routes to take, but for those of you with some spare time on your hands who's always willing to learn something new while getting your operating system well up to date, it would seem like fun.Just thought it was something to add and for the broke windows 98 using techies to think about. :)Can I have a job now Techspot.com? (cheeky laugh)
canadian said:
Well, the best thing we could hope for is for Microsoft to turn Windows 98 into open source, and let others fix the flaws, and upgrade it. But, the chances of this happening would be......what? 1% ?
DragonMaster said:
Maybe an unofficial patch will be released?Anyways, a fix can be as simple as NOT USING INTERNET EXPLORER to browse the Internet.[quote].what? 1% ?[/quote]0%.
crossfire851 said:
[b]Originally posted by canadian:[/b][quote]Well, the best thing we could hope for is for Microsoft to turn Windows 98 into open source, and let others fix the flaws, and upgrade it. But, the chances of this happening would be......what? 1% ?[/quote]If M$ can't profit it on it, they won't have a second thought on it
---agissi--- said:
[b]Originally posted by DragonMaster:[/b][quote]Maybe an unofficial patch will be released?Anyways, a fix can be as simple as NOT USING INTERNET EXPLORER to browse the Internet.[quote].what? 1% ?[/quote]0%.[/quote]Haha come'on bud, if a signifigant amount of the critical core component of the operating system needs to be re-written/engineered, somehow I doubt linuxJoeShmoe will get an unofficial patch out.
Thomasnews said:
I know I've said it before but, if you choose to (still) use a product almost a decade old you shouldn't be overly surprised about support for it ending. In fact, it's not like this should be much of a surprise anyway, the roadmaps/end of cycles have been around for years now.
DragonMaster said:
Windows 98SE can do almost everything you want, without lag on a 450MHz machine, while Win2k lags like hell or is just MUCH slower. That's a good reason to keep it. Why upgrade if you still can do something with it?
Julio said:
I agree with Thomas, there should be a life cycle for a product of this kind, and support can not be offered indefinitely (realistically speaking). It wouldn't be bad practice either to make it open-source given today's many projects taken under that umbrella, but in the case of Microsoft... it's more than obvious you shouldn't hold your breath.
mirob said:
They should have rewrote the whole thing already, SE was just a start. It is easier and more profitable to sell upgrades to Xp. Xp works good on 450MHz machines, and runs the latest software on 2GHz+ modern computers with seldom a BSOD.
DragonMaster said:
[quote]Xp works good on 450MHz machines,[/quote]Not if you don't want to spend $200 on RAM. (Then it's just better to buy a cheap 250$ CAD machine with an ECS mATX mobo standard case & PSU, 2.4GHz Celeron, 20gb HDD, cd-rw combo, 512mb ddr)
Phantasm66 said:
[b]Originally posted by Julio:[/b][quote]I agree with Thomas, there should be a life cycle for a product of this kind, and support can not be offered indefinitely (realistically speaking). It wouldn't be bad practice either to make it open-source given today's many projects taken under that umbrella, but in the case of Microsoft... it's more than obvious you shouldn't hold your breath.[/quote]Exactly. Are we gonna start worrying about the security of Windows 3.1 now?
Thomasnews said:
I know people say Windows costs a lot, which is fair enough, but then again for the money you spend on it, you do get updates for several years. New PC games cost what, about 1/4 or 1/5 the price of Windows? What was the last game your purchased which provided 2 years of updates? Not all Windows updates are security related either of course, e.g. Media Player. Not that I'm trying to defend Microsoft's pricing/products or anything ;) but a little perspective.
DragonMaster said:
[quote]but then again for the money you spend on it, you do get updates for several years.[/quote]For security issues caused by poor programming.
ThomasNews said:
Yup. But look at the likes of Anti-virus programs now; much of them you have to pay a yearly subscription to receive updates to protect your system.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
[b]Originally posted by Thomasnews:[/b][quote]I know people say Windows costs a lot, which is fair enough, but then again for the money you spend on it, you do get updates for several years. New PC games cost what, about 1/4 or 1/5 the price of Windows? What was the last game your purchased which provided 2 years of updates?[/quote]You get OEM version of XP Pro with the price of two X-Box 360 games (at least here). I wouldn't call 140 EUR operating system expensive , yet many people won't complain paying more for a graphics card (or another component) which will be "obsolete and slow" in half a year.
ThomasNews said:
Sorry, OEM versions slipped my mind completely, was thinking of Retail versions only for some reason :)
Phantasm66 said:
I certainly plan on buying Vista when it comes out, and probably the professional version (or whatever its called) as well. OK, I could not afford to buy everything, and Microsoft should look at bundling a cut down version of Office with Vista for free, but paying for the OS which is basically the thing that drives your machine is not something I am adversed to.
DragonMaster said:
[quote]a cut down version of Office with Vista for free[/quote]Like what? Word, Excel and PowerPoint w/o VisualBasic?[quote] I certainly plan on buying Vista when it comes out, and probably the professional version (or whatever its called) as well.[/quote]Sure? No more Nero and RPC1 drives!
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