(Reposted here partially in response to Aquarius on the subject)

“Martin Underwood” wrote:

“Johnny” wrote:

“Conor” wrote:

It means your PC won’t become a trojan infested pile of stinking crap

That sounds like Windows to me, ever increasing in size too.

I’ve always wondered: do Linux and MacOS have any security loopholes? Is
part of the problem simply that most virus writers direct their attentions

to Windows because it is the most popular OS? I believe that XP is
inherently more secure than Win 95/98, but is more prone to viruses because
virus writers are concentrating on XP rather than Win9x. The same may be
true of Linux and MacOS compared with XP.

For MacOS this is partially true, being less of a mainstream OS it doesn’t get so many viruses. Linux is slightly more preemptive and reactive, the theory is that since so much of it has source code open to public viewing, somebody somewhere will see any potential security vulnerability. In fact, Linux/Unix based systems do suffer from such exploits for similar reasons as Windows – and about as frequently – but the community as a whole tends to react far quicker and with much more honesty about the problem. (For example, see this, an archive of this year’s security announcements for Debian GNU/Linux).

On top of this, Linux has a couple of other advantages. Firstly, that usually the only “given” on any Linux system is the kernel itself, other functionality is supplied by a myriad of other packages. The mail server could be Exim, Sendmail, QMail or any one of a hundred others, for example, but for a Windows system you’re pretty much guaranteed to be running Exchange. Windows’ ‘cohesiveness’ – the property that makes it a much easier to use desktop system than any current *nix based one – is the very property that makes it an easier target, since you can pretty much predict what’s running on any given Windows box and target that.

Finally there are the Users. Most of the Linux user base are still relatively geeky people who are aware of the importance of keeping up to date with the security holes, whereas a frightening number of Windows users have the same sort of problem as Oscar above, that they don’t understand what they actually need to do or – in a more office based scenario – why they should care.

Of course, the fact that Windows users outnumber Linux users 100 to 1 (at least) doesn’t help either, plus a number of crackers will deliberately aim at the “Evil Empire” on purely ‘moralistic’ grounds.

Fear the fuckwits who think themselves on the side of “Good”.

Faithfully Yours,

Aquarion

From his Windows PC, though his Linux news server 🙂