Google tells staff to snub Windows after China hack snafu

Will boarding up windows make Chrome shine?


Google employees are reportedly being told by their Mountain View overlords to dump Microsoft’s Windows because of security concerns about the operating system.

According to a report in today’s Financial Times, which cites several Google workers, the ad broker has been telling its staff to move away from the Windows OS since January this year.

That was the moment when Google was forced to admit that the Chinese wing of its operation was one of the 34 companies whose systems had been hacked in mid-December 2009.

“We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” an unnamed Google employee told the FT.

“Many people have been moved away from [Windows] PCs, mostly towards Mac OS, following the China hacking attacks,” said another anonymous Googler, according to the newspaper report.

New recruits at Google, which hires around 10,000 people worldwide, are allegedly given the option of running Apple Macs or Linux-loaded computers, rather than a Windows-based PC.

Those employees who want to run Windows on their machines now need to seek out clearance from “quite senior levels”, reported the FT.

One Google worker also pointed out that Google was snubbing Windows in readiness for its own operating system - Chrome.

However, Google isn’t forcing its staff over to a Chrome-only environment yet and some told the newspaper that they were relieved to still be able to run Mac and Linux operating systems at the company.

Another Microsoft rival - IBM - made a similar shift from Redmondian software in June 2008 when it advised its 20,000-strong techies to ditch MS Office and use open standards software such as its own Lotus Symphony instead.

So it’s hardly surprising to see Google walk away from its competition’s operating system. In fact, some might wonder what took the company so long to turn its back on Microsoft.

We asked Google to corroborate the FT story, but at time of writing it hadn’t got back to us with comment.

Microsoft, for its part, didn't seem particularly stirred by Google's actions.

The software giant's top flack, Frank X Shaw, took to his Twitter account where he noted that "Google [was] going Google", before offering a few sarcastic observations about the FT story.

"news flash: Google boards up all windows in its global HQ, citing security concerns. Must credit FT," he chided. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022