Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 16:48 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Microsoft Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, the Linux world's very own Thurrot-before-he-lost-his-faith, writes: "People tell me I bash Microsoft too much; that Microsoft's products really are great. OK, so I won't bash Microsoft this time around. I'll let Microsoft's own friends do it."
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Forget Vista
by Jon Dough on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 17:34 UTC
Jon Dough
Member since:
2005-11-30

I'm not gonna pay hard-earned cash to upgrade to Vista when I can either stick with XP or upgrade to the Ubuntu distro for free, and there are plenty of FOSS apps that do everything I need to do as good or better than the same MS apps.

In fact, I'm already running the Ubuntu distro on my backup box; I just haven't moved to it full time mainly out of inertia (or perhaps laziness).

Reply Score: 5

RE: Forget Vista
by Varg Vikernes on Mon 24th Apr 2006 08:10 UTC in reply to "Forget Vista"
Varg Vikernes Member since:
2005-07-06

That's nice to hear. We were getting worried.

Reply Score: 1

bleh!
by daman on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 17:43 UTC
daman
Member since:
2006-01-22

Ok I read first part of the article. As for the governmetn and "business" who are infected then they only have one person to blame and that is their CIO. With out policies in place and proper training it doesn't matter waht system if users have full access to their systems and are given free rain to play on them then they deserve to be infected. This will happenon Mac OS, Linux, Windows, OS/2, etc...

Jim

Reply Score: 3

RE: bleh!
by raver31 on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 18:57 UTC in reply to "bleh!"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Emmm, nope.

I have been running Linux constantly for the past 12 years, the last 3 as my only operating system.

I click on ALL dodgy websites, I will open ANY dubious email attachement, and I use pre-compiled binaries for my gfx card.

And.... my machine remains 100% secure.

How ? because you fail to understand there are differences with Linux (and Mac OS X), and Windows.

There may be sites listing vunerabilities, so what ? Someone has to actually implement these.

With Linux (and Mac OSX), it is nigh on impossible to create and propagate virus, trojan or spyware.

With Windows, you can exploit a vunerability with no problems whatsoever.

So with NO training and FULL access to the system, Linux and Mac OS X users are still immensely more secure than Windows users

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: bleh!
by Spectre on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 19:10 UTC in reply to "RE: bleh!"
Spectre Member since:
2006-02-08

With Linux (and Mac OSX), it is nigh on impossible to create and propagate virus, trojan or spyware.

It's dangerous to fall into this belief. GNU/Linux and Mac OSX are more difficult to compromise than Windows, but not impossible nor even "nigh on impossible." The worst thing we can do as a user base is to be lulled into a (false or otherwise) sense of security.

To quote ol' Tom Jefferson, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: bleh!
by jaylaa on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 02:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: bleh!"
jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

The worst thing we can do as a user base is to be lulled into a (false or otherwise) sense of security.

I think that's already happened to me. My browsing habits have definately gotten more unsafe since moving to GNU/Linux.

Sometimes I'll be booted into Windows on my machine, or even worse, someone elses, and browsing around some seedy sites looking for torrents or um.. other stuff. And suddenly I'll realize that I'm not in GNU/Linux and think 'holy crap, wtf am I doing?!' and get paranoid for a second about how my computer might have been harmed.

So, yeah. I need to get my sense of vigilence back before GNU/Linux gets too popular.

Reply Score: 1

relative danger
by KenJackson on Mon 24th Apr 2006 13:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: bleh!"
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

It's dangerous to fall into this belief.

Perhaps, but consider the relativity issue. Start with two naive users, one using Windows and the other using GNU/Linux. Which one is in greater danger of an infected PC?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: bleh!
by BluenoseJake on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE: bleh!"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

I have been running Windows for 15 years, and I click on ALL dodgy websites, I will open ANY dubious email attachement.

and my machine remains 100% secure.

How ? because you fail to understand that it's not Windows that is insecure, it is the users. My System is fast, secure and protected. I run as a normal user, and use runas to install things, change system settings, whatever.

With an administrative login, you can exploit a vunerability with no problems whatsoever.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: bleh!
by raver31 on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 22:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: bleh!"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Except, you forget that Windows uses a monolithic kernel and depends on RPC calls too much. So even in XP SP2 and a normal user account, an RPC vunerabiliy under Windows will still take you out, administrator or not.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: bleh!
by khaz on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 04:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
khaz Member since:
2006-02-27

Er, sorry, what? Monolithic kernel architecture has nothing to do with RPCs, and, by the way, the NT kernel is not monolithic. And while you're explaining that one, please explain how Windows's use of RPCs makes it insecure. In detail. Because I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: bleh!
by raver31 on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 07:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: bleh!"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

It appears you are the one who does not know what he is talking about.

Windows does indeed amalgamate everything possible into the kernel, hence the monolithic tag.

Take IE for example. Why would a kernel need a web browser so deeply embedded ? Why is the system unable to open up a help file, without one certain web browser ? Why can I not update thw system if this same browser is not installed?

google is your friend.... look up the meaning of monolithic kernel.
Also, while you are on google, look up "microsoft sql and rpc vunerabilities", I do not have the time nor the patience to do that for you.

ALSO, while you are looking, check for WinFS RPC vunerabilities too, now ask yourself why it is not going to be in Vista.

And lastly, to everyone here, why is it that if I was running say Windows 2000, and decided to update, can I not just type;

apt-get -u dist-upgrade

and move myself onto XP or Vista ?

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: bleh!
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 08:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Windows does indeed amalgamate everything possible into the kernel, hence the monolithic tag.

*Shakes head in disgust*

There is so much wrong in that statement it almost hurts. First, Windows does not put everything in the kernel. Hell no. What Windows does, and this is the second error you make, is to put everything in kernelspace. This is a major distinction: something in the kernel is always in kernelspace, but something in kernelspece does not nescesarily have to be in the kernel. And here we come to your third error: a kernel does not automatically become monolithic the moment all its drivers and processes run in kernelspace; only when they are moved inside the actual kernel does a kernel become monolithic. The difference between user- and kernelspace has fcuk all to do with this.

Why can I not update thw system if this same browser is not installed?

Because Windows Update requires IE. The fact whether or not IE is deeply integrated into the system has nothing to do with it.

Why is the system unable to open up a help file, without one certain web browser ?

Because help files use IE's rendering engine?

Reply Score: 5

RE[7]: bleh!
by roddog on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 14:24 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: bleh!"
roddog Member since:
2006-03-24

>>Why is the system unable to open up a help file,
>>without one certain web browser ?

>Because help files use IE's rendering engine?

Uh, files don't render, engines do. A file is just a lump of information. Lets not put the cart before of the horse here. The fact of the matter is Microshaft doesn't want you to use anything else. There is no good reason a browser should be in kernel space other than
a) allowing the owner (not user... go read your EULA) to push things into kernel space whenever they feel like it,
b) there are more people in marketing than development (a distinct possibility given the poor quality of software that is continuing to be patched), or
c) they don't know what they are doing.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: bleh!
by GStepper on Mon 24th Apr 2006 10:47 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: bleh!"
GStepper Member since:
2006-03-08

So right !

It's funny how certain people try to speak of OS internals without any knowledge ...

Just to say that NT as in "Windows NT" stands for "new technology" and what technology ? Micro-kernel !!!

Don't believe me ? Just consider the Mach micro-kernel which is known to be the first working micro-kernel implementation. As many people know, some people from CMU went to NeXT, others went to ... Microsoft (among others) just see for yourself:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/project/mach/public/www/people-former....

When someone speaks about windows with a monolithic kernel he actually refers to win 9x family.

Now current versions (Win XP, and Win 2003) uses Hybrid kernels (mainly for performance reason) as someone mentionned above !!

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: bleh!
by halfmanhalfamazing on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 12:32 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
halfmanhalfamazing Member since:
2005-07-23

--------------And lastly, to everyone here, why is it that if I was running say Windows 2000, and decided to update, can I not just type;

apt-get -u dist-upgrade

and move myself onto XP or Vista ?----------------------

You don't even have to do that anymore. You can use a GUI program like Synaptec or whatever to move yourself to the next level.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: bleh!
by sappyvcv on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Care to explain how IE is embedded in the kernel?

In the OS, yes. The kernel, no.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: bleh!
by khaz on Mon 24th Apr 2006 04:48 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
khaz Member since:
2006-02-27

That's great. You get modded to a 4, and I get modded down to a 0, despite your comment being poorly written and full of outright lies and misinformation. Super.

Raver31, have you ever written a kernel? I have. I have written a small, monolithic UNIX-style kernel. I have read many parts of the Linux source code. I am familiar with the Windows NT kernel archicture. I have read research papers on microkernels and exokernels. I have studied this all extensively. Let's just say I am familiar with operating system kernels.

Therefore, let me tell you this: Windows is not monolithic. It makes interesting and extensive use of kernel space for efficiency, but this is distinct from a true monolithic kernel. Perhaps you would like to consult the Wikipedia article on "Hybrid kernel" for a little more information before you start running your mouth next time.

Perhaps more shockingly false is your accusation regarding Internet Explorer. IE is NOT embedded into the kernel; I'm not sure what led you to believe such a backwards idea. Yes, the IE rendering engine is used by a multitude of applications, including the help browser. That's called good engineering -- that way, you don't need to implement a separate rendering engine for help files; just use HTML for help files and plug in your existing HTML engine. I am not sure why this bothers people.

Yes, I am well aware that Windows has had many RPC vulnerabilities in the past. However, this has NOTHING to do with RPC being inherently insecure. RPC is just a mechanism to allow Remote Procedural Calls. It's not any more or less secure than any other means of networking. But you just bought into the anti-MS hype. (I'm not sure how WinFS would have RPC vulnerabilities by the way, since it has not been released.)

I will not address your final non-sequitur, other than to note that it's obvious that in your mind, everything is an "us vs. them" argument. The funny thing is, I am an avid user of Linux and FreeBSD. I like and use open source software.

Your "bio" is especially ironic given all of this: "Linux needs YOUR help to make it better." Yes, I suppose Linux does need my help, because you, my friend, are hurting Linux with your FUD and bad attitude. If Linux is to "win", as you clearly want it to, it should be because it is the better piece of software, not because a bunch of propagandists shout down anybody who dares support Windows.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: bleh!
by GStepper on Mon 24th Apr 2006 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: bleh!"
GStepper Member since:
2006-03-08

I modded up ;-)

Perhaps some people should buy/read good reference books before they speak of OS internals.

To Raver31, go on online book store and search for good OS books... Google can't do anything (not yet)

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: bleh!
by sappyvcv on Mon 24th Apr 2006 15:39 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: bleh!"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm just someone else noticed the IE-in-the-kernel thing. I don't understand that at all.

Thanks for a well-written comment ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: bleh!
by GStepper on Mon 24th Apr 2006 10:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
GStepper Member since:
2006-03-08

"Except, you forget that Windows uses a monolithic kernel and depends on RPC calls too much. So even in XP SP2 and a normal user account, an RPC vunerabiliy under Windows will still take you out, administrator or not."

You seem to really don't know what you're talking about .... LOL

It was so funny, thx !

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: bleh!
by porcel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: bleh!"
porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

Bullshit!

There have been many vulnerabilities that exploited ActiveX and IE flaws that you would have fallen prey to, had you done what you claim to do.

You are simply not credible, so stop posting bullshit that absolutely nobody will believe.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: bleh!
by Celerate on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 01:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

There's a post like that every time the security of Windows is brought under the microscope. Someone always has to come up and say they've been running Windows since dinosaurs roamed their backyards and they have yet to have their computer compromised.

There are several explanations for this, for example as you have said the lack of credibility. Then there's the example of someone not using anti-virus software, and as long as no obvious symptoms pop up, that person assumes that his or her computer is fine because they haven't been told otherwise. Finally there's the people who make up a statistically miniscule portion of the Windows user base and are actually never discovered to have compromised computers; these people don't necessarily need to know more about Windows than the most bewildered of grandparents seated in front of a "newfangled computer thingy", they just need to be in the right part of the statistics.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: bleh!
by khaz on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 05:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: bleh!"
khaz Member since:
2006-02-27

Celerate, this is a particularly obnoxious troll, I am sorry to say. There are plenty of Windows users who never get viruses or malware. I have personally not had a virus since the mid-1990s, when my brother infected the family machine with a boot block virus from a floppy from school. However, I do not use anti-virus software, nor am I particularly cautious about which web pages I visit.

It is not magic. It is not luck. Honestly, informed Windows users can avoid malware without much trouble.

Look, running Linux takes a certain amount of expertise, even if you never touch a command line. It is the same as Windows. The only difference is, in Linux, the expertise is in making the machine do what you want it to, while in Windows, the expertise is in preventing the machine from doing what you don't want it to.

Reply Score: 0

RE[6]: bleh!
by cjcoats on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 14:07 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
cjcoats Member since:
2006-04-16

t is not magic. It is not luck. Honestly, informed Windows users can avoid malware without much trouble.

Right: start by never playing CDs nor DVDs, particularly ones from Sony BMG...

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: bleh!
by Celerate on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

While I don't dissagree that knowing what you're doing gives you a better chance at keeping your system clean, it also doesn't make you impervious, and that's the point I'm trying to make. By implying that you're safe if you know what you're doing, you're practically saying that you know more than everyone else out there who has had their computer compromised, and I'm just not inclined to believe that.

Like it or not, you don't get a whole decade or more using Windows without having your computer compromised just because you think you're the king of the geeks, you owe most of your good fortune to luck. You don't have to go looking for trouble for it to find you.

Plus, according to your claim: "However, I do not use anti-virus software, nor am I particularly cautious about which web pages I visit" you make yourself out to be uncautious on the internet and without anti-virus, all under the assumption that you are running Windows since that is what the subject of all this debate. If you aren't running anti-virus software you assume that you don't have a virus because you haven't yet been told so. Even watching for symptoms isn't a good solution because well written viruses aren't obvious like the script kiddie "connect the dot" virus builing kits are.

You don't carry much credibility when you say you don't have any viruses, but you also don't have any means to know if you did. Sure, there's online scanners using active X and Java, but if the virus is on your computer first those can be circumvented, fooled, and even disabled.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: bleh!
by Rehdon on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 07:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: bleh!"
Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

This reminds me about a little discussion I had last year: I was a guest at a friend of mine parents' place, and my friend and I were using his father's Windows XP box to surf the Internet. The thing literally crawled, you had to wait a little after every single keystroke. I'm no Windows expert, but looking at the quantity of software installed and noticing that it was 24/24 connected to the Internet I guessed that the cause could be a load of spyware and possibly a virus. So, even with automatic patching and anti-virus software always on that system was on the verge of usability.

Since then, and perhaps because of that experience, my friend has happily moved to Linux, I don't know about his father ;)

rehdon

PS It's not only the big picture troubling me about Windows, it's also the many small annoyances I experience (no pun intended) when I have to use it. For instance, my Windows laptop (yeah, had to pay the Microsoft tax on that one) is now misbehaving with no apparent reason: every time I try to create a new directory clicking with the right mouse button the shell freezes, any idea about that? Ok, I use Windows only every now and then, but this is really a PITA ...

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: bleh!
by BluenoseJake on Mon 24th Apr 2006 21:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

It's not bullshit, it's fact. I run an AV program and antispyware program, and don't run as an admin user. Most of those exploits need admin access to run properly, and the AV program takes care of any smart ones. Just because you call bullshit don't make my claims false, just makes you rude

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: bleh!
by aGNUstic on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 01:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: bleh!"
aGNUstic Member since:
2005-07-28

Heh. I have been a hard core Windows system-administrator for well over a decade. This is both in workstations and servers.

If you isolate your network, have a good anti-virus program, have good firewall appliance, an anti-spam appliance like Barracuda, then your chances are greatly reduced. I know. I read the daily reports.

There is one valid point. If you can train your users NOT to be idiots and morons then maybe, just maybe you'll have a non-compromised system.

I've been running Linux on my home systems since Oct. 2003 and had zero fails or compromises. Then again, I know how to harden the syste with such things as firewalls and tcp-wrappers.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: bleh!
by gilboa on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: bleh!"
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

In theory, you should be right... however, at least 1/3 of the Windows software I and my GF use, can only be used as administrator; as a result, both I and my GF are admins on my lousy XP machine.
Try running Nokia sync and/or palm Sync as user, and you'll see what I mean....

Cheers,
Gilboa

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: bleh!
by Bit_Rapist on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

however, at least 1/3 of the Windows software I and my GF use, can only be used as administrator;

give this a shot, might help out a bit.


http://sourceforge.net/projects/runasadmin

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: bleh!
by BluenoseJake on Mon 24th Apr 2006 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

I haven't tried that, but I do know that most games don't like it at all, and I ended up buying an xbox instead. When I have to run something as admin I log into the admin account or use runas

Reply Score: 1

RE: bleh!
by Manik on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 20:26 UTC in reply to "bleh!"
Manik Member since:
2005-07-06

Your spellchecker has been compromised. Call your CIO.

Reply Score: 1

Windows must be Rebuilt
by RGCook on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 17:47 UTC
RGCook
Member since:
2005-07-12

Some of you folks may know who Alex St. John is. If not, he is one of the original developers of DirectX and now heading his own company called wildtangent. He is currently a regular columnist for Computer Power User Magazine (too bad his columns are subscriber only because it is very good reading) and I would urge those who follow Paul's comments to also catch up on Alex's POV.

A key difference between Alex and many other so-called "critical experts" is that Alex understands the fundamental underpinnings and flaws of Windows. He regularly cites the fact that Windows was not built with secure networking (let alone the Internet) in mind as the root of many, if not most of its problems. And he worked for MS long enough to understand how the management has (my words now) transmogrified into a beuracratic, lethargic system with no clear authority or accountability - much like many large, fast growing companies tend to do.

He's a real expert (not just a savvy user with access to builds and RC's). And unlike many experts who simply criticize with no clue as to how to solve the problems, he puts forth solutions and ideas to help rectify the situation. Many of us think we know what the issues are because we follow the threads, read the news and opine on the latest report. But something tells me that the nature of Vista's troubles point to a much more ingrained problem in both the technology upon which Windows is based, along with a rapidly imploding middle-management mess. Regardless of whether you think MS is the devil incarnate or God's gift to the computing world, it is unnerving to consider the ramifications of a sudden Microsoft collapse.

Don't laugh, AMD spanked intel at a time when intel was pretty much considered "untouchable". However, retail sales showed AMD with 80% of the market in Q1 2006, a veritable reversal of fortune just a few years ago. I'm not going to say that Apple or Linux could move in for a kill, but it is possible.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Windows must be Rebuilt
by tomcat on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 00:17 UTC in reply to "Windows must be Rebuilt"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

A key difference between Alex and many other so-called "critical experts" is that Alex understands the fundamental underpinnings and flaws of Windows.

Alex St John is NOT a technical guy. He was a PM at Microsoft, not a dev. He wouldn't know how to code his way out of a paper bag, if he had to. Consequently, I wouldn't trust his opinion of Windows underpinnings AT ALL.

Reply Score: 1

I should know better
by TrendKill on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 17:47 UTC
TrendKill
Member since:
2006-01-21

This "article" (which is really more like a rant) is such fantastic flamebait. So I am willingly engaging in it. I love the article. It's such pure Microsoft hatred propaganda, and yet I totally agree with it. I just hope Vista (when it comes out) really sucks or really rocks so this pointless debate can end.

Reply Score: 1

v Nothing new
by Dias on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 18:37 UTC
RE: Nothing new
by protagonist on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 15:36 UTC in reply to "Nothing new"
protagonist Member since:
2005-07-06

"Why the hell is he speaking about security of unpatched WinXP?"

Because that is the way most XP installations are being run. I work on a fair number of Windows XP based computers for typical home users and most of them are not up to date on the patches. A lot of people are still on Dial-up services and the sheer volume and size of patching the system takes so much time that they just don't do it. You would be surprised at how many home users are still running WIN98.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nothing new
by atsureki on Mon 24th Apr 2006 01:35 UTC in reply to "Nothing new"
atsureki Member since:
2006-03-12

Why the hell is he speaking about security of unpatched WinXP?

Because patching Windows is constant, repetitive, frought with downtime, and prone to the occasional new "feature" being shoved in a user's face, like SP2 harassing people about their choice of antivirus and firewall. Companies can't just drop that in and consider what will come out of it later like home users can. It doesn't have to be the version that comes right off the CD, though it usually will be, but just any point where the system goes static for any amount of time. And what if everything's automatically updated with BITS? Any new machine install is going to sit, exposed to the Internet for hours and hours, while Microsoft trickles a patch at it. You need the Internet to get the patch to protect you from the Internet. Catch-22.

Plz I beg you guys, tell that guy that even a Linux/MacOS are vulnerable without constant update...

Vulnerable, maybe, but that doesn't mean they're at risk. The exploits simply don't exist. Also, "constant" is just ridiculous. I have huge volumes of updates under Gentoo, but I'm getting new versions with new features of every single program on the system. Most MacOS updates are also new versions, and they're pretty infrequent anyway. In both cases, most of the updating has little or nothing to do with security.

Reply Score: 2

Rootkits...
by DrillSgt on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 18:39 UTC
DrillSgt
Member since:
2005-12-02

"Let's start with Mike Danseglio, program manager in Microsoft's Security Solutions group. In early April at the InfoSec World conference, Danseglio was talking about Windows security. He said, "When you are dealing with rootkits and some advanced spyware programs, the only solution is to rebuild from scratch. In some cases, there really is no way to recover without nuking the systems from orbit.""

Same is true for *nix systems. Once someone has put in a rootkit, the only way to be assured of proper operation again is to re-install from scratch. That is unless you happen to have hours of useless time in order to track down each of the thousands of files changed.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Rootkits...
by abraxas on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 23:10 UTC in reply to "Rootkits..."
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

The difference is that it is much easier to install a rootkit on a windows box, or load it up with spyware or viruses. Rootkits are never going to go away. No software is perfect but there is more than just a small difference between being forced to have an automated nuke/reinstall routine and cleaning up one infected machine once a year. probably less.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Rootkits...
by Celerate on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 02:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Rootkits..."
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

Another nice thing to point out about Linux is that you can split up the file system across several partitions, so you have replace the base OS and it's applications and leave all the user files intact. Selective purging if you preffer, rather than wiping out everything.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Rootkits...
by PlatformAgnostic on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 07:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rootkits..."
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

In WinXP:

Right-click on My Documents. Reassign the target of the shell folder for Documents.

For everything else in docs and settings, you can go into MMC and change the user's home folder location.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Rootkits...
by raver31 on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 07:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Rootkits..."
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, that is fine for mp3, doc, jpg files etc, but when you re-install Windows, all the users settings are gone. Out of the box, Windows will expect the users files to be on the same drive as the system, but Linux always separates / from /home.
Every single file a Linux user creates goes under /home/"usersname" and this is never touched after an update. So I can go from a really old Linux system right up to a spanking new linux system, and, as well as NONE of my personal files being lost, all my application settings/wallpapers/colour schemes/sound schemes desktop themes will still be the same.
In fact, that whole thing can be done usually without a reboot, on a running system, you will only need a reboot, if the kernel updates too.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Rootkits...
by DigitalAxis on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 16:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Rootkits..."
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Well, that's provided you aren't then running new programs once you update. Imagine a really old, 1999 era Linux box. It's running GTK+1.2 apps; it has Gnome 1.4; it has a beta version of XMMS from back when it was known as X11Amp...

I'm not going to say you WILL have problems; but I wouldn't be surprised if configuration files have changed between then and now; especially if it's been long enough since they made the transition.

You are right, though, that it's a lot easier and less painful to upgrade Linux than it is to upgrade Windows installs.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Rootkits...
by dylansmrjones on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 13:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Rootkits..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

It doesn't work very well at all.

You cannot move C:Documents And Settings to another partition.

You can only move C:Doc...%USER%My Documents to another partition.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Rootkits...
by DeadFishMan on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 22:21 UTC in reply to "Rootkits..."
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

"Let's start with Mike Danseglio, program manager in Microsoft's Security Solutions group. In early April at the InfoSec World conference, Danseglio was talking about Windows security. He said, "When you are dealing with rootkits and some advanced spyware programs, the only solution is to rebuild from scratch. In some cases, there really is no way to recover without nuking the systems from orbit.""

Same is true for *nix systems. Once someone has put in a rootkit, the only way to be assured of proper operation again is to re-install from scratch. That is unless you happen to have hours of useless time in order to track down each of the thousands of files changed.


OR you could take a look at Security 101 and would have installed something like Tripwire after a clean install, which will create a database with the CRC hash of all files on your system.

After you have a system compromise, all that you have to do is to compare the current system state with the one stored on its backup to have a prompt culprit.

OK, I'll concede that it takes someone aware of security measures to have something like that in place, but it is definitely possible.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nothing new
by captain_knobjockey on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 19:00 UTC
captain_knobjockey
Member since:
2005-08-23

He is talking about unpatched systems for a couple of reasons.

1: Windows XP can be compromised before updates can be downloaded.
2: If used as a server, downtime to update patches costs money.

Linux/MacOS are vunerable ? with unexploited vunerabilities ? Tell me, how ?

Reply Score: 5

...
by suryad on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 19:09 UTC
suryad
Member since:
2005-07-09

nothing to read here...this is stuff we all know already.

Reply Score: 3

bleh!
by zetor on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 19:39 UTC
zetor
Member since:
2006-04-14

It is not impossible...
By the way...an unprotected(in my recent test) WinXPSP1 outside the firewall(DMZ) last about 2 min(just connected to net)before it was hijacked!

Planning to the same test with an old Linux-distro only to see what the results are...

Reply Score: 2

Get a life
by ssa2204 on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 19:41 UTC
ssa2204
Member since:
2006-04-22

People that have nothing better to do than bash operating systems really need to get out more. Good god, I could care less what the OS is, as long is it does what I want it to. I run multiple OSes, XP, Win2k, Suse & Fedora, etc. Fact is Linux does things that Windows doesn't and vice versa. They both have their drawbacks and pluses.

I would be more impressed with the Linux community if they spent less time whining about Microsoft and instead improved their OS. And if anyone thinks that Linux doesn't have room for improvement, well I think they need to turn on a pc before ranting

Reply Score: 2

RE: Get a life
by abraxas on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 23:15 UTC in reply to "Get a life"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

People that have nothing better to do than bash operating systems really need to get out more. Good god, I could care less what the OS is, as long is it does what I want it to. I run multiple OSes, XP, Win2k, Suse & Fedora, etc. Fact is Linux does things that Windows doesn't and vice versa. They both have their drawbacks and pluses.

I would be more impressed with the Linux community if they spent less time whining about Microsoft and instead improved their OS. And if anyone thinks that Linux doesn't have room for improvement, well I think they need to turn on a pc before ranting


Substitute "Linux" for "Windows" in your statement and it still rings true. Besides if you couldn't care less about what the OS is then why are you reading OSNews?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Get a life
by Celerate on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 02:07 UTC in reply to "Get a life"
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

For some people software and operating systems are a main part of their lives. I for one am months away from going off to a post-secondary school to major in Computer Science if all goes according to plan.

Talking about computers and operating systems is no worse than talking about sports, why is it that the later is perfectly normal and acceptible and yet the former is not?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Get a life
by raver31 on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 07:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Get a life"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

get a copy of the film "revenge of the nerds" and you will understand my son.

people around here, do not want to be seen as nerdy

but yet everyone here is indeed a nerd.

emm, except me !

Reply Score: 3

v Not him
by sappyvcv on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 20:38 UTC
RE: Rootkits...
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 20:43 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

Maybe, but it's harder to install a rootkit on a Linux system, because you need to be root and execute a file. Linux distros enforces a strict root access policy, and files cannot be made executable through their file extension, two elements that, once combined, make virus propagation a lot harder.

The telling detail is that while rootkits have existed for longer on *nix systems (Windows rootkits are a recent phenomenon), there's already a higher degree of rootkit propagation among Windows computers.

And before claiming that this is because Windows is more popular, consider that this line of thought inevitably leads to the conclusion that one of the best ways to reduce malware infection of Windows PCs would be to make sure that the Windows market share is dramatically reduced (by, presumably, promoting use of Mac OSX, Linux, Solaris, etc.).

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: bleh!
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 20:47 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

I agree. It's clear to anyone who does a little research: Linux/OS X computers are on general a lot more secure than Windows computers (especially as it pertains to malware), however that doesn't meant that they are "invulnerable."

"Highly unlikely" is not the same as "never", and so the fact that it's much safer to have a *nix computer shouldn't lead us to abandon basic security policies (such as running a firewall if you're not behind a router).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: bleh!
by WorknMan on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I agree. It's clear to anyone who does a little research: Linux/OS X computers are on general a lot more secure than Windows computers (especially as it pertains to malware)

That depends entirely on who's driving. I can think of a few ways to infect a Linux system ... I just need some clueless users behind the wheel ;)

Anyway, it should be no suprise to anyone that Windows users are some of Microsoft's harshest critics, and most of them don't even like Windows and would switch to Linux or OSX in a heartbeat if certain conditions were met. As one friend of mine often says:

'I don't like Windows - I like what I can RUN on Windows.'

And there just isn't much more to say on the matter than that.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: bleh!
by roddog on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: bleh!"
roddog Member since:
2006-03-24

> That depends entirely on who's driving. I can think
> of a few ways to infect a Linux system ...

Like using a browser to look at an image online that opens a vulnerability that allows root access... Oh, no that is Windows, not any other operating system in the entire world. How about stepping up to the plate and telling us a few of these "ways to infect a Linux system ..." that you so nonchalantly just thought up?

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: bleh!
by raver31 on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 22:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Don't fall for it, that guy is a Windows troll. He has not got a clue about systems at all, never mind Linux.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: bleh!
by Tom K on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 23:35 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: bleh!"
Tom K Member since:
2005-07-06

Wasn't there a major vulnerability in libpng a while ago, that allowed virtually the same thing? :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: bleh!
by Celerate on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 02:31 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: bleh!"
Celerate Member since:
2005-06-29

The Windows wmf vulnerability was the result of an intentional mechamism in the format to allow the embedding of code, a poor security design issue from the start. It took Microsoft roughly seven days to release an official patch for this very public problem.

The "big" libpng vulnerability was discovered on August 4th, 2004. Red Hat, SUSE and Mandrake had it patched in July of that year (yes that's right, the very same year, as in before it went public). Slackware, Gentoo and a few others had a patch 16 days after it went public. Microsoft took 10 months and 10 days to patch this very same vulnerability in their software: http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/388984

No one should be claiming that Linux is completely impervious; however, we can fairly claim that it gets patched faster.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: bleh!
by WorknMan on Mon 24th Apr 2006 00:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: bleh!"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Like using a browser to look at an image online that opens a vulnerability that allows root access... Oh, no that is Windows, not any other operating system in the entire world.

As I said, it depends on who's driving. Given the fact that this vunerability didn't affect me means my box is still secure.

How about stepping up to the plate and telling us a few of these "ways to infect a Linux system ..." that you so nonchalantly just thought up?

I may be wrong about this, but the only thing between a Linux box and somebody who wants in is the dialog box asking the user to type in the password for root. So all you gotta do is use a little bit of social engineering. "Hey, download and run this, type in your password when asked, and this will show you nude pics of (insert famous celeb here). 'Oh, but users would never be that dumb ..' Right, given that users are still clicking on any email attachment that comes in, what does that tell you? If they'll run email attachments that promise them nakid pics, they'll give up the root password in a heartbeat.

Granted, it's not as wide open as Windows, but the more clueless users you get on the system, the more of this you're going to see. If security problems were never the result of end user stupidity, then the only security flaws you'd see on Windows are the ones that self-propagate. Email/IM viruses/worms wouldn't even exist.

Edited 2006-04-24 00:19

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: bleh!
by Amaranth on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 21:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: bleh!"
Amaranth Member since:
2005-06-29


"Highly unlikely" is not the same as "never", and so the fact that it's much safer to have a *nix computer shouldn't lead us to abandon basic security policies (such as running a firewall if you're not behind a router).


Why do you need a firewall if you have no open ports?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Not him
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 20:52 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

No one with any common sense takes Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols articles about Microsoft seriously.

Well, not if you're a MS sympathizer, anyway...which is fine - I used to say the same thing about Paul Thurott!

In this case, however, he does highlight the fact that several key MS supporters (including Thurott) are less than enthusiastic about Vista. Should debate and criticize the content of Vaughan-Nichols' article instead of attacking his character.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

Reply Score: 4

v RE[2]: Not him
by sappyvcv on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 21:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Not him"
RE[2]: Not him
by kaiwai on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 02:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Not him"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, not if you're a MS sympathizer, anyway...which is fine - I used to say the same thing about Paul Thurott!

Well, the thing is, the original author (Steven) didn't actually need to say a thing; he merely consolidated the views of many people at Microsoft or have contacts at Microsoft, to demonstrate what little confidence these individuals have with the design of Windows and the approach Microsoft takes to software development.

Windows is becoming more and more convoluted with each release; patching, working around and recycling the same crap over and over again - and the Windows product manager has the nerve to say that all this crap is 'an asset' when describing backwards compatibility? I don't call it an asset, I call it a resource hogging, problem laden baggage that should be purged off the cvs tree as fast as humanly possible!

Have a look at the UNIX world on the other hand, and you've got OpenMotif thats still compatible with applications circa 1990s; FreeBSD has gradually evolved, its heavily used on servers around the world, and they're not faced with the same level of security problems; if 'the bigger target' was the deciding factor, FreeBSD should be getting cracked night and day - the fact is, it isn't happening, Windows is being targeted because its the easist target to aim for, and the easiest one that these crackers can boast about in terms of 'accomplishments'.

But this is typical of Microsoft, ever since the first security issue found in IE 3.x, and their 'threat' to keep the individuals mouth shut, Microsoft has been on the slippery slope; their crappiness for many years was only kept hidden because of the lack of interconnectivity of clients, but now everyone is connected to the internet, all the vulnerabilities came to surface. They denied, denied, kept adding features that were security concerns.

Ultimately, however, its the consumers who perpetuated the problem by continuing to purchase Microsoft products; when viable alternatives existed, consumers shunned then, how the consumers now who whine, if they need someone to blame for Microsofts donominance and subsequence laziness, they can take a good hard look in the mirror.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Get a life
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 21:01 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

I also run multiple OSes (Win2k, WinXP, Mandriva, Kubuntu), both installed on machines and running under virtualization. It's true that Windows does a few thing that Linux doesn't - play commercial games, mostly, and run some software which require virtualizaiton under Linux.

That said, it's not the Linux community bashing Windows in the linked article - it's Windows proponents.

I would be more impressed with the Linux community if they spent less time whining about Microsoft and instead improved their OS.

Uh, yeah, right. Ignoring the fact that one does not preclude the other, you're missing the point. This is not the Linux community whining, it's Microsoft advocates whining (and the Linux community watching, some with some amusement).

That said, the people I hear the most whining about Microsoft are those who use their products and who aren't power users. Try doing some family/friend computer support sometimes...

Reply Score: 5

Recommended Article is...
by CaptainPinko on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 21:42 UTC
CaptainPinko
Member since:
2005-07-21

The Thurrot one linked in the article. If you haven't read it I suggest you do because it is one of the better written pieces I have read in a while.

http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/winvista_5308_05.asp

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Not him
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 22:06 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

Ah yes, don't attack his character. Ok. Oh, but you can attack mine, that's right.

Not in this thread I haven't! I've already said I'd get off your case...

Unless you consider "Windows sympathizer" an insult, which would be a little over-sensitive on your part. After all, I certainly wouldn't object to be called a "Linux sympathizer". There's nothing wrong with having preferences, is there?

That said, we can agree that Ad Hominem attacks are bad, and therefore your argument about Vaughan-Nichols was faulty. Either you admit being wrong here, or you validate my past characterization of yourself as a Windows apologist...

Either way, I've already acknowledged that you weren't a MS apologist, but simply a Windows sypathizer (which is not an attack at all, because it is based on personal preferences and is totally legitimate).

I hope this clears up things a little...

Edited 2006-04-22 22:10

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Not him
by sappyvcv on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 01:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not him"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Then how did I attack his character? I said no one takes his articles about Microsoft seriously.

You compared it to Paul Thurrott, which is off. Thurrott is a Microsoft fan and writes mostly positive things about them. Steven is an open-source advocate and writes nothing but negative things about Microsoft. There is a difference.

Edited 2006-04-23 01:44

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Not him
by atsureki on Mon 24th Apr 2006 02:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not him"
atsureki Member since:
2006-03-12

Thurrott is a Microsoft fan and writes mostly positive things about them. Steven is an open-source advocate and writes nothing but negative things about Microsoft. There is a difference.

This just struck me as way off. What's the difference? That they have different opinions about the same subject? Good! If Paul Thurott were the only one talking about Windows, no one would know there was anything wrong with it. Well, except everyone who uses it, but you know what I mean. It looks to me like they're equal opposites. The biggest difference is in which one any given person agrees with.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Not him
by sappyvcv on Mon 24th Apr 2006 02:57 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not him"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Paul says constructive stuff sometimes. Steven just bitches.

Not only that, Paul has written positive things about Linux as well.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: bleh!
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 22:13 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

That depends entirely on who's driving. I can think of a few ways to infect a Linux system ... I just need some clueless users behind the wheel ;)

Everything's possible with a clueless user and some social engineering. However, my argument is that, with all things considered equal, Linux/BSDs/Solaris/OSX are safer than Windows.

In other words, have two equally clueless users, one on Linux, one on Windows, I'd bet good money that the Windows PC will get compromised first.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: bleh!
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 22:17 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

Why do you need a firewall if you have no open ports?

To port scanners, closed ports will still signal that a machine is present. Good firewalls will simply not respond to port scans, making it appear as if there's no machine at the given IP adress.

Personally, I have more than one PC at home, so I can have a NAT router/firewall with a DMZ. That's not necessary if you only have one PC, but it can't hurt either - especially if you have to reinstall Windows and need to access the Internet before you can safely patch your machine.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: bleh!
by archiesteel on Sat 22nd Apr 2006 23:39 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

The libpng vulnerability did not include privilege escalation.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Not him
by archiesteel on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 01:52 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

Then how did I attack his character? I said no one takes his articles about Microsoft seriously.

My bad. You're presenting your opinion - that no one takes his MS articles seriously - as fact. While you still didn't challenge any part of the article, but rather made a blanket statement about what other people allegedly think of his MS articles. That's different.

You compared it to Paul Thurrott, which is off. Thurrott is a Microsoft fan and writes mostly positive things about them. Steven is an open-source advocate and writes nothing but negative things about Microsoft. There is a difference.

It's not that simple. Thurott has written about Linux before (and was quite harsh in his judgement), and Vaughan-Nichols isn't always criticizing Microsoft. That's all besides the point, however. I didn't see you try to contest a single thing from the article. I don't care what you think other people think of his MS articles, I want to hear what part of the article you disagree with.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Not him
by sappyvcv on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 15:55 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not him"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Sorry, you're right. I honestly meant to say no one should take his articles about Microsoft seriously. I've read many of his articles and everything he said about Microsoft was either negative or a backhanded compliment.

And as far as Paul Thurrott...
http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/linux_desktop.asp

"Linux is the Promised Land."

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Not him
by archiesteel on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 16:30 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

Point taken about Thurrott. I had only read his early Linux articles, it seems that he's finally found some nice things to say about the OS. He actually gave a pretty good rating to Ubuntu in a review. You'll noticed that I said I used to feel the same way about him.

Anyway, it's good that we can both admit when we're wrong, and sorry if you felt I was still attacking your character - I really wasn't trying to.

Reply Score: 1

some things he forgot
by arctic on Sun 23rd Apr 2006 22:29 UTC
arctic
Member since:
2006-04-19

Whether I tested Vista on my new Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop, or on my aging desktop Athlon box, Aero Glass barely slowed the system down.

His system specs are a lot higher than those of maybe 60% of computer users. Even his "aging" box has 512 MB Ram and 128 MB gfx. Many laptops still only have 256 MB Ram and 64 MB onboard gfx. Vista WILL be slow on those machines and not everyone can buy a new box every year. That is also one of the reasons why many people still use Win98. Reduced system requirements.

Windows Vista is still Windows. No matter how much new features or flashy graphics Microsoft inserts into Windows, the main strong point for Windows has been its astonishing backwards compatibility. You can take old DOS applications, and they will run on Windows XP without a hitch. You can take an application designed for Windows 95, and run it without any problems on Windows Vista.

There are hundreds of DOS and Win95/98 applications that don't run in XP or Vista. Backwards compatibility was never one of the biggest strenghts of Windows imho.

Reply Score: 1