BlogicBlog: View from the trenches

The blog about Java and XML with focus on troubleshooting issues and tools.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Microsoft's way of fixing a security issue with a feature

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... is dropping the feature.

I have an iPAQ rx3115 with a built-in WiFi. I had it for a while and it is a nice unit, if one forgives Windows Mobile 2003 (this is possible on a good day). I also have a wireless router, so can download books and generally browse internet from anywhere in the flat without turning the main computer on.

One of the other benefits of the built-in WiFi was synchronization over IP, which for me was specifically over the WiFi. This feature is no more.

Microsoft decided that this feature is a security risk because people's email, files and notes were transmitted unecrypted and could be snooped upon. So, with their new focus on security they had to fix this problem and fix it urgently.

So they dropped the feature in the update.

I am not sure what more to say. They decided and they executed. They did not bother mentioning this in the release notes, they did not provide it as either a disabled-by-default option or even as a registry setting. Nope. Just gone! And to make sure I don't endanger myself, they removed all old versions of the ActiveSynch as well.

One brave engineer decided to explain the reasoning behind the feature drop in his personal blog. Whatever! I can't say it any better than multiple comments on his blog already did and a fat lot of good it did to anybody.

One thing for sure - this does not bode well for Vista, where such changes don't even require people installing the updates.

BlogicBlogger Over and Out

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