Windows 10

Windows 10 and 11 were not available to Russians. This can be both a technical mistake on the Microsoft website and a political step by an American corporation – the opinions of the experts interviewed by Izvestia differed. What is the reason for the error on the official website of the OS, how to get around it, and who will definitely have a hard time if they switch to other operating systems, Izvestia figured it out.

What happened

Russian users have problems installing and updating Windows 10 and 11. Users massively complain that they cannot download ISO images from the official site: an error box pops up. There were reports on the Web that Microsoft banned Russians from downloading the 10th and 11th OS.

Obviously this banal error on the site, Karen Kazaryan, expert of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC), notes in an interview with Izvestia. It’s premature to talk about blocking, agrees an information security expert, co-founder of the Third Party company Anton Bochkarev: there can be many different reasons for problems on the Microsoft website.

Yes, links to Windows 10, Windows 11 and MediaCreationTool for Windows 10 are not available. The error there is standard from the web server and can occur for a number of reasons. There were no announcements from the company, – says the interlocutor of Izvestia.

The MediaCreationTool software for Windows 11 downloads without any problems and loads the OS on the computer, Anton Bochkarev draws attention. MediaCreationTool for Windows 10 can be downloaded from another region.

Photo: Getty Images

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OS updates also work, namely their absence would be the most critical for users and security.

Why did the error affect only Russian users? In addition to blocking, it could have arisen due to an erroneous configuration of CDN servers that balance the load between servers in different regions.

— A “typo” has been hanging on the site for several months (“Updating on Windows 10 for November 2021.” – Ed.), Which also suggests that perhaps Microsoft is not very attentive to the Russian version of its site, — adds an expert.

According to him, the solutions to the problem are now simple: distribute the MediaCreationTool software and download ISO images through it. And also expect announcements from Microsoft: earlier they promised that they would not stop supporting users and the corporate segment. “Now there is no reason to panic,” Anton Bochkarev believes.

What other versions are there

Download problem may be both a technical error and the result of measures related to ensuring the information security of the Microsoft portal, assumes Oleg Shvarev, head of the project portfolio of the T1 Integration Competence Center for Applied Solutions. Another hypothesis is that such measures are aimed at combating “piracy”: Microsoft complies with sanctions and theoretically it is impossible to buy licenses for either individuals or legal entities, and without a license, a distribution kit is not needed.

— However, even if this hypothesis is correct, I would not expect such radical actions from Microsoft as a ban on updating all devices with Russian IPs: this is hardly in the interests of the company as a whole and does not correspond to legal norms in relations with existing customers , although they are now blurred by the sanctions,” emphasizes Oleg Shvarev.

  Microsoft Redmond campus

Photo: Global Look Press/Keystone Press Agency/Toby Scott

Aleksey Kurskikh, Deputy Technical Director for Presale at Cross Technologies, recalls that since the beginning of the special operation, many foreign IT companies have unilaterally terminated service contracts. Against this background, a possible ban on downloading the Microsoft distribution does not surprise him.

What is the danger

Ways to update the OS remain now. Firstly, download available via VPN, recalls Dmitry Kondratyev, Doctor of Business Administration, Director of Business Process Development and Information Technology at Energon. Secondly, they can download from other sitesalthough this method carries some information security risks.

Alexander Vurasko, Head of the Digital Threat Analysis Department at Infosecurity Softline Company, explains that a distribution kit from a third-party site, in addition to the basic functionality, can contain anything: malware, in particular banking trojans, programs that record keystrokes, spyware, and much more.

If we assume that operating systems stop updating, then the security level of the infrastructure and outdated operating systems will begin to decline over time, says ITCOM Security CEO Maxim Virchenko. Alexander Vurasko agrees with him: the lack of updates can be a rather serious problem, because any software package (namely, Windows) can contain critical vulnerabilities that are fixed just by installing updates.

Thus, hackers will discover the most accessible region for exploiting these vulnerabilities, while system administrators and users will be left “without security patches,” emphasizes Maxim Virchenko.

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Photo: Global Look Press/dpa/Jan Woitas

According to an expert in the field of cybersecurity, managing partner of Swordfish Security Alexey Antonov, We will see the consequences of the lack of updates in just a couple of months. “If this happens, we should expect an increase in the number of hacker attacks – attackers will use loopholes to penetrate the systems of both home and corporate users. Before them, we will be defenseless, ”he notes.

And what will happen next

On March 4, the American Microsoft announced that it was suspending the sale of goods and the provision of services in Russia. At the same time, they stressed that they are closely “working in conjunction with the governments of the US, the EU and the UK,” and therefore restrict work in the Russian Federation in accordance with the sanctions. In early June, the company said that although it would “significantly reduce operations in Russia,” it would continue to fulfill its obligations to customers.

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The corporation has not yet commented on problems with downloading Windows 10 and 11.

Third Party co-founder Anton Bochkarev doubts this is a sign of an impending ban. “If this is really this kind of “blocking”, then it looks rather strange and awkward,” he said. As a targeted ban, the measure really looks pointless, since it is easy to bypass it with a VPN, Oleg Shvarev from T1 Integration believes.

Already, Microsoft Windows can only be purchased in a boxed version, electronic – not available, Dmitry Kondratiev draws attention. Distributors sell boxed versions in stock, after which the prospects for buying a Microsoft Windows license are rather vague, the source said.

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Photo: Izvestiya / Dmitry Korotaev

– Now it is not possible to update the OS and download new versions. What does it say? In fact, the fact that technologically the software that we now use frozen in current state, – believes the managing partner of Swordfish Security. This is a solvable situation, he is sure: “Ten years ago, when I administered a fleet of 2-3 thousand cars, everything worked without automatic updates. We walked, put patches with our hands. So it will be now. Yes, for organizations it is more difficult, more expensive, but the problem can be solved.”

Third-party software will protect against a number of cyber threats that may arise due to lack of updates, but by no means from all. If a situation really arises in which operating systems involved in critical sectors of the economy remain without updates, we should already be talking about switching to other operating systems.emphasizes Alexander Vurasko from Infosecurity Softline Company.

Is it time to switch to Linux

For Windows users, it would be less painful to abandon the OS itself than the consequences. “In fact, the entire stack of software used in everyday life needs to be revised in the future in favor of Linux-oriented software products.– explains Dmitry Kondratiev. “Yes, there is a Wine program that allows you to run Windows software under the Linux operating system, but not all programs work stably under it.”

The most technological users, for example, adherents of cloud technologies, were the first to feel the consequences of the sanctions: back in March-April, the developers either withdrew the subscription or limited the possibilities of paying for it.

– For ordinary users who have installed software and do not have a subscription license, the effect will be a little more delayed: probably, a couple of years without updates and new versions, the software will still work, but then users will face the inevitable need to switch, – the source believes “Izvestia”.

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Photo: Global Look Press/mm-images/blickwinkel

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An alternative option is a “rollback to the nineties”, when illegal software flourished.

Expert opinions on alternative operating systems differ. You can combine the functionality of several OCs and thus replace Microsoft products. Such work is already underway at many Russian enterprises, says the CEO of Digex Co. Yuri Anikin. “There are also products based on open source, there are also domestic solutions,” he adds.

Information security expert Anton Bochkarev believes that there are no full-fledged alternatives. “You can use Astra Linux, but only for the most massive tasks,” he says. – The bulk of software important for business has not been transferred to it. Therefore, a large part of the business using Windows will not be able to migrate.”

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There are already quite good analogues for the programs of the Microsoft Office package in Russia, experts interviewed by Izvestia agree. However, you should not expect a one-to-one transfer of functions from well-known software.

The unconditional loss in the event of a transition to Linux will be the gaming segment, adds Dmitry Kondratyev, director of business process development and information technology at Energon. They practically do not adapt to this OS, and not every game will work under the same Wine program.

What will the business

If a business takes the path of switching to Linux-oriented and Russian software, this will inevitably have an impact on user preferences.. It is usually uncomfortable to use different programs at work and at home, so many will switch to products that are close to corporate ones, the interlocutor believes. In the case of a scenario with a ban on updating the Windows OS, the consequences for Russian entrepreneurs, according to his estimates, will be quite radical.

office

Photo: Izvestiya / Dmitry Korotaev

Alexey Antonov from Swordfish Security suggests that they will be heavy, but still not critical. The maintenance of the infrastructure will rise in price, more specialists will be needed – but there is no “return to the old life” in any case.

“In the worst case, if you refuse third-party products, the enterprise runs the risk of completely stopping, in the best case, nothing serious will happen,” says Yuri Anikin. In light of the fact that OS update problems primarily affect security, it is reminiscent of the Petya virus, which paralyzed many companies around the world in 2017.

In addition to technical There are also legal difficulties. In the foreseeable future, it is hardly possible to completely abandon Windows, given that many software are tailored for it. So, not only individuals, but also legal entities will be forced to engage in “piracy”.

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“At the same time, there is no moratorium on protecting the interests of Microsoft, and no one has canceled criminal liability in this part,” Evgeny Tsarev, head of the RTM Group, emphasizes in an interview with Izvestia.

– Even if we assume that the situation will stabilize, Microsoft products for the Russian market are hopelessly compromised – there are no guarantees that they will be available tomorrow. It is not so sensitive for end users, but it is essential for the corporate segment, Dmitry Kondratyev adds. Few people want to take the risk and invest in a solution that, in the long run, can immediately stop the business.

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