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Does a Microsoft "monoculture" endanger security?

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Do you agree with Jonathan Yarden that a Microsoft "monoculture" exists? Do you think it poses a threat to global Internet security? Does your organization rely primarily on Microsoft products? Share your comments about considering alternatives to Microsoft software, as discussed in the March 15 Internet Security Focus e-newsletter.

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It is OUR fault

by rakundig In reply to So what are you trying to ...

As IT it is OUR fault that we are using products that do not meet our own requirements. Sure, there is a lot of leaning towards MS from upper management because that is what they have on their home computer and that is what they know, but WE are IT and it is our job to make sure everyone else can do their job and well.

We all know the MS is substandard as far as OS's are concerned. We all also know that all the junk that MS throws into it's OS is never used, especially in the workplace.

Users use email, file storage, a couple of apps that are most likely specific to each organization and a word processor.

So, we all need to start a movement to get away from MS products. This movement, if large enough, will do one or two things. It will give us a better working environment since Linux, Netware, Unix, MacOS, etc.. IS more secure than MS could dream of, no matter what any of the MS buffs in this string say! And/or it will force MS to actually fix their OS because they will be losing market share.

How we do this is not by fighting the machine but presenting it to upper mgmt is a fashion that they will like. Man hours, productivity, cost. We gotta count beans like the bean counters to get them to come over to the good side of the force.

We all know that users will whine for a few weeks when they get their new GNOME desktop, they won't like the email interface, they won't like star office. After another month they will think it is kind of cute or nifty or they like the look of Xwin or something. Next month no one even remembers what it was like to use MS in the office.

Users will adapt, Mgmt will fall in line if given the proper numbers.

So I say again, it is OUR fault that MS is so junky yet still used. Because we are complacent.


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Well once upon a time

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to It is OUR fault

I installed a total Linux environment into a new company. There was nothing Microsoft at all in the place and I did this as a form of cost cutting and increased security for the customer. The owner was happy with the costs involved and when the business started I was constantly called back in to "Fix Problems" but every one of these service calls was in reality only to show the end users how to work the system.

Like I can't install MS whatever why? There where no real apps involved only utilities that the end users thought they needed. I did however use the forerunner of Win4Lin can't remember its name now and ran Corel's Word Perfect Office as their main Office apps.

The real problems started when they tried to adapt their accounting packages to Linux as it didn't work on that platform and it had to be used. Well the long and the short of it was I had to buy a MS Volume Licence Agreement and spend several days installing Windows on 200 computers. Not a very pleasant experience I can assure you, but then again I sought of expected it as well. They currently have Windows Y2k on their workstations and every server in the place retains the Linux that was originally installed.

Not a perfect solution but at least it works and the customer is happy now if only there where the same accounting packages that are so common foe the MS platform available for Linux things would be great. Incidentally they are still using Word Perfect as their main Office App and now wouldn't consider switching back to MS Office.


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I think he's right...

by keyguy13 In reply to People are NOT missing th ...

Whoever said that software MUST be secure? If you want to keep using the house analogy, fine: Is the person who builds your house responsible for making it break-in proof? No they aren't. That is ridiculous. And microsoft has never claimed or implied that their software is bullet proof. Because no software will ever be secure, just like no house will ever be secure. What's his face has a point, the criminals and little script kiddies are the ones responsible for the lack of security because they can't seem to control themselves from breaking into computers. All that needs to happen is for these people to stop. Period. People in general need to take responsibilty for their own actions. That is the only way anyone will ever feel or be secure is if criminals stop this crap. I know it sounds so simple and naieve as to be ridiculous but it just simply is true.

If these assholes stop writing viruses, stop writing spyware and stop hacking into systems we won't have a need for security. We'll actually have some freedom and computing will cost everyone alot less.

I say we make the punishment for computer crimes death by hanging and it should be televised and the person whose property was stolen or damaged should be the one to pull the lever. That's another option anyway.

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We should thank the criminals and little script kiddies

by anom_amos1 In reply to I think he's right...

For without them constantly attacking we would sink into a lethal lethargy.
Look at the Stink Y2K caused and then the letdown when nothing happened.
Imagine that we were all unaware of the Y2K issues and come January 1 2000 planes started dropping from the sky nukes were launched ETC ETC!
Thank you script Kiddies you keep Microsoft on their toes and cause them to atleast spend a little money on trying to make their products better and less on law siuts against the compitition !

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You really are funny...

by keyguy13 In reply to We should thank the crimi ...

Y2K was an issue with every computer system, not microsoft. It didn't take illegal activity to see the flaw. Condoning these little punks' activities just because you don't like the fact that Microsoft keeps beating everyone is the ultimate in irresponsibility. You and the script kiddies need to grow up.

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But Actually

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to You really are funny...

"Condoning these little punks' activities just because you don't like the fact that Microsoft keeps beating everyone"

Microsoft doesn't continually beat everyone didn't they just recently get found guilty in the Courts for breaching something or other?

Didn't they get found by the US Government to be in breach of the Monopoly Laws?

Aren't they currently in court for being accused for inflating the prices of their products?

While they might win on the Sales front they do not often win in the courts remember the Netscape debacle?

But Microsoft learnt from that as they effectively stooped Netscape and at the same time made their IE the standard browser and at very little cost I might add in comparison to an all out advertising war with Netscape.

However they have finally found a way to get what they want they just buy a large interest in a company and then insist that they drop any "Open Source" projects. Once Microsoft get their war they then offload the stock quite often at a loss but it is cheaper than using other means to get their way. Just image what would happen if there was an "Open Source" version of Word Perfect available!

Just how long do you think Windows would survive? Once there is a real alternative to the Windows OS that will support the commonly used third party software that is used now you'll see a marked decrease in the sales of "Windows" and Microsoft knows this that is why they try so hard to prevent this from happening.


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Exactly How

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to I think he's right...

Do you suggest we catch these people with 100% certainty that they are the real culprits?

If I remember correctly "Slammer" was blamed on a student in Indonesia who didn't have a computer or access to a computer so in all fairness exactly how do you expect us to believe he was responsible?

Granted in all likelihood he probably did admit to it {But a few beatings with a rubber hose across the soles of the feet and you'll admit to anything.} What you have to remember is that a lot of these people live in different parts of the world where you're "Legal System" doesn't apply. A lot of these place want a conviction at any cost and are not really interested in catching the culprits just getting a "Result" so they can say we did our bit now you are expected to do you-re's.

Actually if you want to go back to the beginning of Hacking it started in Australia and when it started there where no Laws being broken no matter just how much damage was being done to the systems that where being compromised. So it is all well and good with you're simplistic view of things but you might as well say that all road fatalities are caused by speeding & drunk Driving and people should stop this. Unfortunately even with draconian penalties placed on these offenses it has not lessened the number of offenses being committed every year and there are many repeat offenders or in the case of speeding where the Police are not actively involved and rely on unattended mechanical means to gather speeding fines they are subject to Fraud. People can an do alter their number plates to pass the blame onto others who find it almost impossible to prove their innocence.


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Crashes and not secure.

by jurgenvogel In reply to I think he's right...

Well Windows in all of its versions seems to be the most crashable software around. If you go to the Tek-Tips forum it is absolutely full of crashed windows systems. At our University we dissasembled Win XP and found two instances of 8 bit CPM code in the OS, MS claims there are no more 16 bit codes used, this might be tru, but they forgot about the 8 bit encoding. After numerous virus and trojan attacks we now use a linux server as a firewall and no more virus problems at all. This is over a period of two years. I just made a recommodation to our Uni to forbid the use of MS software at the university grounds. This will take effect at the start of the next semester.

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A smart and responible consumer

by Tesla444 In reply to Crashes and not secure.

Your response to the Microsoft nightmare is the only possible
route to go. If all companies made this decision Microsoft would
quickly react and maybe even build a decent system, no doubt it
would be Unix based.

Thankyou for taking positive action.


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by The_Sentinel_ In reply to I think he's right...

To use the analogy of the house (yet again)....
It's not the builder/architect's job to make the house secure. You can however get a third party (security company etc.) to come in and secure it without needing access to any secret/intellectual property type stuff. A house is a house and people know how one works.

If it's not Microsoft's job to fix the security holes in their software then how do you expect third-parties to be able to do so without access to source code? Sure it can be done by reverse-engineering, but second-guessing isn't really the best way to go about fixing security holes in software.

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