FBI tells the public to call their ISP for help

Sean Donelan sean at donelan.com
Thu Jun 14 14:06:46 UTC 2007

On Wed, 14 Jun 2007, John Levine wrote:
> But ISPs are not wholly without responsibility.  If one of your
> customers reloaded Windows from CD and then needed to download all of
> the patches, do you provide a way for them to do it without getting
> re-wormed before the download is done?

Windows patches and updates are copyrighted intellectual property of 
Microsoft, and can not be re-distributed without written permission of 
Microsoft.  Microsoft currently does not have an authorized way for 
general public ISPs to redistribute Microsoft updates except by a 
connection to the Internet.  Institutional licenses, such as available for
universities, are not licensed to ISPs.

Since many Microsoft patches are only legally available via the Internet, 
and an ISP can not predict which servers Microsoft will use to distribute 
Microsoft patches, ISPs must enable essentially full Internet access which 
includes access for most worms.

I have been down this road several times with Microsoft legal.  And if
an ISP wants to obey the law, there isn't a good answer for ISPs.  If the 
ISP says to hell with the law, there are several technical options for 
redistributing Microsoft updates.  If Microsoft changed its licensing 
policies for ISPs, there are several technical options for redistributing
Microsoft updates.

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