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: Great Cthulhu (IP: ---.205-131-66.nowhere.mc.videotron.ca)
by drsmithy on Tue 7th Oct 2003 06:31 UTC

Actually that is incorrect. The author does not blame Windows vulnerability on the fact that it's a monoculture.</I.

Windows is more vulnerable because it is more common (more targets, higher probability target is vulnerable).
Windows is more vulnerable because it exposes greater functionality.
Windows worms and viruses cause more damage because it is common.
Windows worms and viruses can spread more quickly because it is common.

The author's comments on "monoculture" are a tacit admission commanility is a fundamental aspect.

[i]He's saying that viruses can do a lot more damage in a monoculure.


Yet his primary thesis is that OS popularity is independent of damage that can be wrought. Basically, he's trying to say if Linux or OS X were in the same position Windows is, the same problems would not plague it.

"Not being root" does limit the spreading worm,

How, from a practical perspective, does lack of root access limit a worm's ability to spread from the typical machine ?

That still doesn't contradict the fact that "not being root" is safer: it prevents situation A and doesn't affect situation B either way, which is safer than not having an effection on either situation.

Without knowing what your situations A and B are it's kind of hard to comment.

So in fact it appears that the author - who incidentally is a computer security specialist - is right on both these counts, and you aren't. Sorry.

The author may be a "Security Consultant", but that article is nothing more than anti-Windows FUD, hand-waving, misleading statements and incorrect conclusions - with a few subtle factual errors thrown in for good measure.

In short, it's a troll.