Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Tue 31st Mar 2009 06:30 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption Many have gotten antsy the past months about the Conficker worm, and all with good reason. Though the worm hasn't done much of anything (yet) except spread like the plague, it's infectious if one doesn't have his or her Windows operating system up-to-date with the most recent security updates. The worm is supposed to execute on April 1st, and the computer world is holding its breath to see if a disaster comparable to the hyped-up supposed Y2K doomsday will ensue or if it's just someone's idea of a sick April Fool's Day joke.
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RE[2]: Yet another reason....
by thecwin on Tue 31st Mar 2009 08:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Yet another reason...."
thecwin
Member since:
2006-01-04

He does have a point, but I don't know if he realises it or not. Assuming Linux is just as insecure as Windows, you're still at less risk because it has a smaller marketshare and noone writes rooting worms with payloads for it (rather most are for spam/CPU botnets or for targetting other Windows installations). It's a good argument against software monopolies, the same way low genetic diversity is considered a bad thing (bananas).

Imagine a Windows super-bug destroyed most Windows installations next week... we'd be screwed ;) At least if there was a mix of Linux, BSD, OS X and Windows, all running various different sets of software (KDE, GNOME, etc.) the damage would be far more contained.

Reply Parent Score: 7

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Imagine a Windows super-bug destroyed most Windows installations next week... we'd be screwed ;) At least if there was a mix of Linux, BSD, OS X and Windows, all running various different sets of software (KDE, GNOME, etc.) the damage would be far more contained.


Probably not, actually. You see, most security breaches do not appear as low-level as the kernel - they appear higher up in the stack. And since a lot of packages are common throughout Mac OS X/BSD/Linux distributions...

Still, a mixed environment would be so much nicer for the world. One can dream.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Yet another reason....
by thecwin on Tue 31st Mar 2009 08:38 in reply to "RE[3]: Yet another reason...."
thecwin Member since:
2006-01-04

I understand that, but the stack on OS X/Linux/BSD is at least more varied than on Windows...

I think the more diversity the better. Even if SAMBA is vulnerable, and that is shared across all three UNIX/alike platforms, a large number of those won't be running it, or will be running NFS instead. Of those who are running it, the ability to gain root-level access might also depend on a kernel bug, limiting the potential to spread to other user accounts from the Samba accounts/users.

If Windows' RPC is vulnerable... we have Blaster and Sasser making huge parts of the internet infectious. It'd be a lot slower at propagating if there were 1/4 as many computers to infect ;) There's room for some non-UNIX-alike systems in the mix too ;) .

It's not a panacea, nothing really is... it just helps reduce overall risk.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Yet another reason....
by obsidian on Tue 31st Mar 2009 08:36 in reply to "RE[2]: Yet another reason...."
obsidian Member since:
2007-05-12

He does have a point, but I don't know if he realises it or not. Assuming Linux is just as insecure as Windows, you're still at less risk because it has a smaller marketshare and noone writes rooting worms with payloads for it (rather most are for spam/CPU botnets or for targetting other Windows installations). It's a good argument against software monopolies, the same way low genetic diversity is considered a bad thing

Agreed! That was exactly my point.... ;)

If there were a much more mixed Internet (as far as OSs are concerned), worms like this would have a much harder time of things. As it is, because the net is so Windows-dominated, they can cut a swathe across it with no problems at all.

Putting it another way - if your forest is all Dutch elms, you get hammered by Dutch elm disease.

Imagine a Windows super-bug destroyed most Windows installations next week... we'd be screwed ;) At least if there was a mix of Linux, BSD, OS X and Windows, all running various different sets of software (KDE, GNOME, etc.) the damage would be far more contained.

Agreed....

As for the argument put by a previous poster that "if Linux cut it, we'd all be using it" - not necessarily. Windows doesn't "cut it" (security-wise) and yet many still use it.

I guess some of us are just much faster to spot a good thing when we see it..... ;)

Edited 2009-03-31 08:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Yet another reason....
by polaris20 on Tue 31st Mar 2009 14:46 in reply to "RE[3]: Yet another reason...."
polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06



As for the argument put by a previous poster that "if Linux cut it, we'd all be using it" - not necessarily. Windows doesn't "cut it" (security-wise) and yet many still use it.

I guess some of us are just much faster to spot a good thing when we see it..... ;)


Agreed. Windows domination has nothing to do with being the best, and everything to do with being the quickest with market penetration and marketing.

Don't get me wrong; I like XP and 7, and do use them. But I wouldn't necessarily say they're the "best".

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Yet another reason....
by kaiwai on Tue 31st Mar 2009 11:20 in reply to "RE[2]: Yet another reason...."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

He does have a point, but I don't know if he realises it or not. Assuming Linux is just as insecure as Windows, you're still at less risk because it has a smaller marketshare and noone writes rooting worms with payloads for it (rather most are for spam/CPU botnets or for targetting other Windows installations). It's a good argument against software monopolies, the same way low genetic diversity is considered a bad thing (bananas).

Imagine a Windows super-bug destroyed most Windows installations next week... we'd be screwed ;) At least if there was a mix of Linux, BSD, OS X and Windows, all running various different sets of software (KDE, GNOME, etc.) the damage would be far more contained.


You're right - I remember saying over 10 years ago that the ideal situation would be a world with 6 different operating systems and multiplatformness is done through adhering to standards set down or through something like Java or .NET.

The sad reality; the market demanded one operating system for 'cheapness' - and well, they've got the cheapness and it has come at a cost.

Reply Parent Score: 4