Microsoft believes itself judge, jury and executioner on the Internet

Microsoft believes itself judge, jury and executioner on the Internet

No-IP is an interesting service, although not extremely popular; Thanks to its dynamic DNS system we can connect directly to our computers or devices even if its IP address changes frequently. This is useful when we have contracted an Internet connection with a dynamic IP address (the vast majority) and we want to connect remotely to work or to get a file; that is why it is more attractive for companies although it is also used by many private users.

Unfortunately, it is also a service that can be exploited for malicious purposes, but the same can be said of other similar services such as VPNs or proxies, right? That was not enough of an excuse for Microsoft when it took control of the No-IP servers without their owners even knowing about it. Now Wired has gathered testimonies from the people involved in the controversy, and some statements make clear the position of Microsoft to end hackers even if it means shutting down legal services and harming legitimate users. The events took place last July, although due to certain commitments and legal agreements the whole story has not been known so far.

Fighting pirates and hackers, whatever the cost

A story that started years ago, in 2008, when a bug in all versions of Windows allowed the Conficker worm to be born; despite all the internal measures that Microsoft had imposed before the release of Windows Vista, this bug was passed high and went on to become one of the most damaging in the history of the system, with consequences even today due to the large number of Windows XP computers that remain. This frustration caused the company to start taking things more seriously., and to execute tougher decisions, to the point of taking advantage of a legal gap to gain control of third-party servers.

Microsoft had estimated that No-IP was a service widely used by hackers to hide the origin of the attacks; But instead of contacting the company to form a joint plan, he decided to file a secret lawsuit asking the judge to control the No-IP servers. His logic was that attackers were damaging his brand and his users and that the priority was to stop them; with a 1946 law in hand, some precedents and technicalities, Microsoft managed to convince the judge that it could get hold of another company’s property., something normally reserved for authority.

Dan Durrer, CEO of No-IP, woke up one morning with a billet of legal papers on the door and thousands of user notices that the service was down. Now he had to fight in the courts to recover his business, something he achieved alleging that Microsoft had not even attempted to contact him or seek his collaboration.. No-IP had already collaborated with Microsoft in the fight against piracy and against botnets on other occasions, and Durrer laments that a phone call could have saved both companies a lot of money. But Microsoft preferred to do things their own way. Yes, some hackers lost the connection during those days, but also many legal users who had lost without any explanation a service for which they had paid.

The case of No-IP is not the only time that Microsoft has used a similar legal remedy to gain control of problematic servers, but it is the one that most affected legitimate users. Along the way, it has also revealed the worst of the American legal system, in which the judge only hears part of the story in a case that affects two or more companies. But despite everything, it does not seem that this occasion will be the last.

Source | Wired

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