Linked by David Adams on Tue 22nd Jun 2010 16:14 UTC, submitted by sjvn
Privacy, Security, Encryption A Computerworld editorial takes note of some interesting changes Dell made to the Linux page we linked to last week. They watered down some of their pro-Linux claims, but not as far as you might think.
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But other OSes no longer have such a noticeable, distinct security advantage compared to the latest versions of Windows.

This is not true, for the following reasons:

1. Windows has indeed made great improvements in security over what it once was, but so too have vast improvements been made in the sophistication of the threats against Windows.

2. There has been virtually zero energy, inventiveness, resourcefullness etc of malware authors directed at targets other than Windows. Windows always has been, and is still, the prime target.

3. Other systems have likewise improved security over time.

4. Windows strives hard to maintain binary backwards compatibility. This means that virtually all of the malware payloads ever written will still run on recent versions of Windows. The only bit that has been made in any way slightly more difficult is getting the malware payload installed. Ubiquitous Windows applications such as Flash and Acrobat are now being targetted as well as the core Windows OS to get around this problem.

Although the core Windows OS is indeed a bit more hardened in Windows 7 than it was prior to Vista, there has been only a partial reduction in the risks faced by ordinary users running Windows.

The malware "industry" is effectively dependent on Windows, in a kind of parasitic way. It has evolved with Windows. Like most parasites, it has almost no carry-over to other "host species".

Edited 2010-06-24 00:18 UTC

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