From Bill Gates, with love

I received an email today. While it is true that I receive 60 to 70 emails daily, this one was not trivial. It wasn’t the expected porno offer, nor a letter from Nigeria or Lagos promising riches. Is wasn’t “reputable” diplomas or innocent spam passed along by a lack-of-knowledge friend neither. If was an email from Bill Gates itself. Yes, that’s right, an email from the billionaire Gates.

I have to admit that my first thought was, “It is another spam”. This is not coming from Gates at all. Boy, was I wrong! I am not silly, I believe it was probably written by one of Bill’s minions, but nevertheless, it was real. Now, what would Bill want with this humble person? Well, it seems that he wanted to re-assure me. He wanted me to know that, even though Microsoft messed up in the past, serious things were to, finally, start happening at Redmond’s Headquarters. Why all this noise? The only conceivable explanation I could think of was the latest Buffer Overflow on the Windows Locator Service. It is a very serious vulnerability. I do not know why I think it was the drop the overflow the cup and Bill decided to put his face out, for the sake of his Company. The email itself is a statement. Between the lines I read — and perhaps I read more than it was — “We messed up in the past and present, we are sorry, very sorry, and it will not happen again. I, Bill Gates itself, am making that promise”.

Of course, the previous paragraph is meant to bother/infuriate Microsoft adorers. I really do not think that he is recognizing Microsoft mistakes. He is just talking about online security now and what is to come, but he writes something I never saw before coming from him:

“While we’ve accomplished a lot in the past year, there is still more to do –at Microsoft and across our industry. We invested more than $200 million in 2002 improving Windows security, and significantly more on our security work with other products. In the coming year, we will continue to work with customers, government officials and industry partners to deliver more secure products, and to share our findings and knowledge about security. In the meantime, there are three things customers can do to help: 1) stay up to date on patches, 2) use anti-virus software and keep it up to date with the latest signatures, and 3) use firewalls.”

Microsoft Executive Email

“Invested more than $200 million… ‘improving’ Windows security… to deliver more secure products… to share our findings and knowledge about security… use firewalls”. Interesting. That quote says it all.