Winston Chai, CNET Asia
March 24, 2003, 09:29 GMT
The company's claims that its software is more secure than a bank vault
have not impressed South Africa's advertising standards authority
Microsoft claimed in an adverti *** t that its software is so secure, it
will make hackers extinct. As it turned out, it was the ad which bit the
South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered the
software giant to withdraw what they termed an "unsubstantiated and
misleading" print commercial last week following official complaints from
*** journalist Richard Clarke, according to a report in South African
technology news site ITWeb.
This controversial adverti *** t, which was published in the November issue
of Time magazine and tech digest ITWeb Brainstorm, featured three extinct
animals -- a dodo, a woolly mammoth and a sabre-toothed tiger -- as well as
a caricature of a hacker.
The caption said Microsoft's software offers better data protection than a
bank safe as it blocks authorised access and viruses. This is "tragic news
for hackers", the adverti *** t claimed.
Clarke described this marketing effort as "laughable" as company's
software was "littered with vulnerabilities".
Microsoft responded with some security documentation and argued its
adverti *** t was merely tongue-in-cheek. But the ASA was having none of it
and ordered Microsoft to pull the ads on the grounds that the claims have
not been evaluated by an independent entity.
According to the report, the adverti *** t was also scheduled to run in a
number of South African business publications.
Microsoft has chosen to highlight its software security in its marketing
efforts during a time when that very issue has put the company's products
under constant scrutiny.
Despite several initiatives to secure the Windows operating system and
other applications, bugs continue to plague its software, making patches an
almost weekly occurrence.
A fatal exception 0E has occurred at 0028:C000BD1D in VXD VMM(01) +
0000AD1D. The current application will be terminated.