Risk
6/2/2010
02:06 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Windows Ban Prompts Microsoft Defense

Microsoft stands by its operating system insisting Windows' security leads the industry.

Google's decision to phase out Windows for its employees has prompted Microsoft to come to the defense of its operating system.

Following a Financial Times report on Monday that Google, as a security measure, now requires CIO approval for new Windows installations, Microsoft Windows communications manager Brandon Le Blanc published a blog post rebutting the Financial Times' claim that "Windows is known for being more vulnerable to attacks by hackers and more susceptible to computer viruses than other operating systems."

That's simply not the case, insists Le Blanc. "When it comes to security, even hackers admit we're doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone else," he said. "And it's not just the hackers; third party influentials and industry leaders like Cisco tell us regularly that our focus and investment continues to surpass others."




Image Gallery: 10 Drivers For Microsoft Surge In 2010
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
Indeed, Microsoft's investment in and commitment to security is widely acknowledged in the industry. The fact is that just about every substantial software application or operating system contains programming errors that may present vulnerabilities. Linux and Mac OS X have flaws, as do Google Chrome and Apple's Safari.

However, it's also fair to say that presently more malware targets Windows and Windows applications than the competition. That's because 90% or so of the world's personal computers run Windows.

"Mac and Linux are not more secure than Windows," said Mickey Boodaei, CEO of security company Trusteer, in an e-mailed statement. "They're less targeted. There is a big difference. If you choose a less targeted platform then there is less of a chance of getting infected with standard viruses and Trojans that are not targeting you specifically. This could be an effective way of reducing infection rates for companies that suffer frequent infections."

Abandoning Windows may provide security through obscurity in the short term, but security through obscurity ultimately is not enough. If cyber criminals choose to target Google specifically, as they did last year, there will be other vulnerabilities unrelated to Windows to exploit.

"In a targeted attack where criminals decide to target a specific enterprise because they're interested in its data assets, they can very easily learn the type of platform used (for example Mac or Linux) and then build malware that attacks this platform and release it against the targeted enterprise," explained Boodaei.

Even when technical flaws may prove hard to find, there are always people to dupe or subvert. People have always been vulnerable to clever social engineering tricks and will probably always be so. Fraud, bribery, and espionage motivated by nationalism predate the computer. Limiting the use of Windows at Google won't address those risks.

Google's decision to leave Windows behind had to happen, for marketing reasons if nothing else. A ban on Windows has the convenient effect of reducing the chance that incoming Google employees will choose to use an operating system other than Chrome OS, once it's released.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7407
Published: 2014-10-22
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the MRBS module for Drupal allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of unspecified victims via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3675
Published: 2014-10-22
Shim allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read) via a crafted DHCPv6 packet.

CVE-2014-3676
Published: 2014-10-22
Heap-based buffer overflow in Shim allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted IPv6 address, related to the "tftp:// DHCPv6 boot option."

CVE-2014-3677
Published: 2014-10-22
Unspecified vulnerability in Shim might allow attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted MOK list, which triggers memory corruption.

CVE-2014-3828
Published: 2014-10-22
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Centreon 2.5.1 and Centreon Enterprise Server 2.2 allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via (1) the index_id parameter to views/graphs/common/makeXML_ListMetrics.php, (2) the sid parameter to views/graphs/GetXmlTree.php, (3) the session_id...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.