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.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
@drsmithy
by Great Cthulhu on Wed 8th Oct 2003 03:22 UTC

"What good use is there to execute attachments?"

Internal software distribution, patching, etc.


There are other, much more efficient (not to mention safer) ways to achieving this. As I said, there's no justification for such security holes.

Heck, I just like to be able to run those silly little games without having to save the file somewhere else first.

You do realize that's how a lot of viruses are transmitted, right? Those silly little .exe games that friends send to each other are the ideal vectors for trojans.

"The user should not be able to execute a file just because it has a .exe, .bat, .vbs or .scr extension."

The user should be able to do it if they want to.


And infect their machines...right, I see you fully support the "dumb user" approach to security. Well, some of us actually care about keeping malware out, thank you very much.

Making things harder and more tedious drives users away from your platform. Every little bit helps.

Making people understand that it's for their own good is what's important, not lulling them into a false sense of security (which is what you were accusing Linux advocates of doing in the first place).

Incidentally, this whole debate around email attachments that is supposed to be indicating poor OS design is doing nothing of the sort, since it's an application issue, not an OS one.

The fact that file extensions determine what is executable or not is an OS issue, the fact that Outlook doesn't prevent it is an application issue.

That was a rather interesting assertion. I'd be very interested to see a) an explanation and b) proof.

http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.invictu...
http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/backdoor.ii...


"This doesn't create security problems."

That's true, it creates usability ones.


Security problems supercede usability ones - because when your system is hosed due to malware you can't use it at all!

Won't happen. The technology will need to improve to offer better security at the same level of convenience.

Yeah, right. One of the most vulnerable link is social engineering. Believe me, once you get your system infected, you learn how to protect yourself. People do learn.

"Sure, but OS are NOT equally vulnerable."

Prove it. Heck, just support it with more than a few anecdotal examples and without circular reasoning.


No. You prove that all OS are equally vulnerable. You have said yourself that there are security flaws in Windows, supposedly because users "want it", as if it was the user's faults these security flaws had been incorporated...when was the last time MS asked YOU what features you wanted, warning you at the same time that it could lead to your system being damaged?

In any case, you have admitted that Windows is less secure because of these features, which proves my point.