Linked by David Adams on Mon 6th Oct 2003 19:34 UTC
Bugs & Viruses It's an oft-repeated maxim that one of the reasons that Windows operating systems are plagued by so many viruses, worms, and security exploits is because they are so popular. Extrapolating on this, many have remarked that if Linux, MacOS, or other OSes become more popular, they will attract the attention of virus writers. That may be true, but the increased attention will not necessarily yield the same quantity of viruses and other exploits, says a Register article. Update: Rebuttal article.
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afrokhan wrote:

"in most cases, windows exploits become significant due human error / ignorance. slammer? the bug was fixed, but administrators didn't apply the patch. or, am i missing something? blaster? the bug was fixed, but end-users didn't apply the patches. or, am i, again, mistaken? software will continue to improve, and that's good. but, i feel that virusers, worms, etc. will only become less of an issue as the general computing populus becomes more educated."

The above reasoning is flawed in general and flawed in specifics. Patching Windows correctly is difficult and costly and doesn't always work, which is why experienced system administrators have a difficult time patching promptly and keeping their systems operational and available.

As to slammer, the order of events was a patch to fix the vulnerability slammer exploited, a patch to fix something else that reversed the slammer patch and then the slammer virus. That had nothing to do with human error outside of MS.


Mark Wilson