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Monday, 31 March 2008

OS security.

Here we have yet another meaningless report on operating system security.

Mac OSX was first to fall, then MS Vista leaving Ubuntu as last man standing. The whole thing was so ludicrous as to be utterly meaningless. From my own point of view it was good to see Ubuntu come out on top as the one the hackers, in the new meaning of the word, found uncrackable. But, in the real world on real installations I wonder just how much worth should be given to the whole shebang.

According to the report, Mac OSX web browser Safari was the first to fall then MS Vista fell via a third party program namely Adobe Flash. But as Adobe Flash is ubiquitous across all platforms surely it follows that Ubuntu would suffer the same exploit whicc in turn means Ubuntu fell at the same hurdle MS Vista fell. Perhaps not though <shrug>.

I take issue with the fact they always use Ubuntu and then claim Linux. Ubuntu is not Linux, it is but another distribution in a large pool of distributions. Some more secure than others at the core. Forget the fact for now that Linux is the kernel, nothing more, nothing less and it is what is added around the kernel, programs etc, that makes up the distribution which in this case is called Ubuntu. Ubuntu is one of those horrible distributions that adds all sorts of extra layers of code in the name of making things easier for the user. These extras make it more insecure.

MS Vista, in a default install, is secure. Yes, you heard that correctly. As much as I despise that operating system the truth is it is secure in its defualt state. It is when adding third party applications things start falling apart. One cannot blame Microsoft for what others do to their operating system. Indeed, in the report indicated above it was a third party application, Adobe Flash, that lead to MS Vista being declared second best secure operating system.

Mac OSX is an odd beast. It is a closed operating system which is based on a freely available operating system but is itself proprietary. However, applications created by others and compiled source code can be added to the mix. The fact it was Safari, a closed source application written and created by Apple employees is cause for alarm for users of this operating system.

Overall though, the article above was poorly done in my honest opinion. Not least because of how it was done but also the fact that by declaring one more secure than another in the way they did and how they arrived as that declaration leaves a lot to be desired.

So as someone who installs these operating systems for users and companies will I personally give much credence to this article? In short. No.

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