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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Re: Re: Will
by Will on Mon 6th Oct 2003 23:35 UTC

Can you give an exaple of when the Windows privilege elevation didn't "work well" or a specific piece of software you were unable to install or use with it?

(the question then becomes does said softare exist outside of Windows...)


I don't recall the product. Among the assorted products, I've had some that simply say "Must be admin to install" and abort, and I had one that asked me for the Admin password, but the install failed.

As I also mentioned, WCIII simply wouldn't run as a normal user, I had to be Admin to just play it, and not just install it.

I also found that there were problems installing on a system that had a "default login", particuarly if it was different from Admin. Originally I had our home machine configured to log in automatically at boot as a regular user. But, I disabled that after having problems when I logged in as Admin and installed something that wanted a reboot. Very nasty.

All of it was pretty specific Windows software. Maybe there are comparable Mac versions, I haven't looked.

I think that a lot of developers migrating off of the W95/98 model towards the 2K/XP model simply don't take the multi-user concept into consideration, particularly with home users. So, they don't test all of the myriad ways someone may want to try and install something.

Certainly, the installer companies and/or Microsoft have considered the problem as witnessed by the security elevation concept. But the fact that I had to run a game as Admin tells me the problem is still pretty entrenched.

Mind, I have no problem with something akin to a root owned X server, while logged in as someone else, because that path CAN be better secured and audited compared to just having blatant root/admin powers for everything from Word to Warcraft to Notepad.

I assume that root runs the X Server on my Sun Ultra 10, I've never looked and it never crossed my mind that it's an issue.

On a single user machine, I think that Windows (or even Unixen here) can use an ACL trick (or simply changing the owner) to open up /dev/video to the logged in user as part of the login process. Thus making this nominally root owned system device (the display) usable by the logged in user vs just making it, essentially, world writable/readable.