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Risk

4/10/2008
09:43 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Security Is No Longer About The Operating System

Now that Adobe has updated its graphics and video software, a near ubiquitous security vulnerability has been fixed.

Now that Adobe has updated its graphics and video software, a near ubiquitous security vulnerability has been fixed.Just yesterday, Adobe released the most recent version of its Flash player, 9.0.124.0. And with it, vulnerabilities that could enable remote attackers to infiltrate systems running this software (and who doesn't?) have been remediated.

You can grab your copy of the update, and more information on the security flaws, right here. You'll be safe until the next round of flaws are uncovered, if they haven't been already.

Security news watchers will recognize one of the Adobe flaws as the flaw that enabled Shane Macaulay to win a laptop after gaining control of a Vista system during a hacking contest, PWN 2 OWN, at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver.

I wasn't at this conference, but one of the interesting things I noted was that none of the systems "PWN'D" in the contest were done so through vulnerabilities in any of the core operating systems. That's right, during the first day of the contest, hacks were limited to attacks over the network directed at the operating systems. No one was successful.

So Vista was taken down through an Adobe flaw, and a small team of researchers went home with a MacBook Air and an extra $10,000 after exploiting a flaw in Safari 3.1.

This means the Microsoft vs. Apple "Which is more secure debate" is over. No one is attacking core operating system functionality anymore. Why? Because the operating systems have been sufficiently vetted and hardened. While we will still see vulnerabilities and attacks aimed at OSes, for certain, these won't be what marketers like to call "the sweet spot."

This means the browser you choose to use may have a profound impact on how secure you are while surfing the Internet. It's about Firefox vs. Explorer. QuickTime vs MediaPlayer. It's about not using anything but a fully hardened instant messaging client.

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