Sunday, April 05, 2009

Religion Wars: Linux and Mac vs. Rationalism

 
Greg Linux is disappointed that the Confliker virus didn't do more damage on April 1st [Did Conflicker Flop? Yes. Why? Nobody knows].

I wasn't worried because I checked all five of my computers and not one them were infected. If they had been, it was very easy to get rid of the worm. My Linux machine didn't have the worm either.

That doesn't stop Greg from offering this advice ...
Experts expect that the worm is going to re-awaken at some time in the future and possibly actually do something. In the mean time, you may want to get rid of it if is on your system.

If you run Windows, the best way to get rid of the computer is to get a Mac or a Linux computer. There are probably other ways to do this but I don't really care. If you are running Linux, this worm can't directly affect you.
Sheesh, those religious nuts sure can be silly.


20 comments :

  1. This is perfectly sound advice. If you want more security, use a system that was designed from the beginning to have multiple users that don't step on each other and to have processes run in a safe way.

    Of course, I'm not disappointed that this worm did not materialize. I'm simply pointing it out. Although it would have been funny. Depending.

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  2. Greg Laden says,

    This is perfectly sound advice. If you want more security, use a system that was designed from the beginning to have multiple users that don't step on each other and to have processes run in a safe way.

    Greg, don't be so naive.

    The only reason you don't have a plethora of worms and viruses on Mac and Linux machines is that there are so few of them.

    If you have to choose an operating system to attack in order to do maximum damage then windows is by far the best choice.

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  3. Linux takes a lot of effort to make it work properly. I had to spend a few hours just trying to make my laptop's internal speaker stop beeping.
    I'm debating between getting a Mac for a new desktop, or sticking with windows.

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  4. The only reason you don't have a plethora of worms and viruses on Mac and Linux machines is that there are so few of them

    The only reason people can't get their favourite software for Linux or configure their hardware on Linux is because of its small market share.

    Works both ways.

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  5. Foolish heretics! For is it not written that the Prophet Jobs hath revived the Apple Mission by introducing a *nix-based OS? nd as all know, God is found only via a *nix OS, and most directly via the Finder.

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  6. Love the blog, but market share is not "the only reason" OS X is more secure than Windows. It may be A reason, but it isn't the only one and not even the most important one. Greg was being the opposite of naive.

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  7. Larry, Larry, Larry, Larry.... come on, man. I'm not naive, I'm just correct.

    Devin: You can't install an operating system on a computer that was not assembled with that operating system in mind without running into problems sometimes. That applies to Windows as well.

    There are several ways to stop the beeping, depending on what was beeping: For the console, you can make it zero length with this command:

    setterm -blength 0

    Or for X (which, since I suspect you are not exactly a power user, since you're hanging around here with Larry and stuff, is more likely):

    xset b off

    That does not take a few hours to do, nor does it take a few hours to figure out. Just google "linux stop beep"

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  8. market share is not "the only reason" OS X is more secure than Windows. It may be A reason, but it isn't the only one and not even the most important one.

    Of course it is not the only reason but it is THE reason. And absolutely, positively a primary one.
    Win NT may have started on a shakier ground security-wise than FreeBSD but that was 15 years ago and progress has been made. Today, given the same level of cluelessness of a user and the same level of dedication by a hacker, Mac OS X is at least as vulnerable as Windows.

    In any case, the biggest threat to security these days does not lie with OS. Ultimately, your network is only as secure as the weakest of your internet-exposed applications or as your stupidiest sysadmin.

    Greg was being the opposite of naive.

    He is simply wrong. As he typically is on almost any subject.

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  9. I think the title point for this post has been illustrated quite nicely... replace the OS with a prophet's name, and the problem/virus with "curse" or "heavenly smiting" and giggle away.

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  10. I dunno but I just tried out Safari for windows and it's just freakin horrible. Maybe it runs better on a Mac, I dunno. I sure hope so!

    Okay you guys go back to fighting it out or whatever...

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  11. Very wrong Linux haters!

    Linux is not only secure because of its small market share. The main reason is because you simply never run untrusted executables while logged in as the root user. In other words, the normal user does not own executable files, you'd need administrative privileges for this.

    That does not mean there are not Linux viruses out there, but they would probably not cause serious damage in your computer.

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  12. I personally think you folks are fighting about the wrong stuff. I've never been infected with a Win virus (there really isn't a good reason for anyone to be subject to these, with cheap wireless routers that easily make effective hardware firewalls), but I also run Linux and FreeBSD, and help my Dad with Mac problems occasionally.

    To me, the major difference is that the open source systems like Linux and FreeBSD are harder to set up initially, but easier to customize the way you want, since the provider of the OS hasn't staked out any "no go" areas for users. Windows and OS X are easier to get started with for novices, but the price is that there are things it is difficult or impossible to modify to suit yourself.

    I have a feeling, being the owner of an iPod Touch I enjoy tremendously, that in the coming years this argument may shift to one between the iPod/iPhone version of OS X and Google's Android (though I suppose one should never discount Microsoft, and Blackberry has more "smart phone" market share than anyone else right now if I'm not mistaken).

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  13. [...]but market share is not "the only reason" OS X is more secure than Windows. It may be A reason, but it isn't the only one and not even the most important one.

    And yet, no-one ever provides any sort of evidence, or even ar argument, to back up this position. That Linux and Mac OS X are more secure are self-evident truths that no sane person would question, it seems, and doing so is sacrilegde of such a blatant and fetid variety that any such allegations must be ignored, for fear that the pure and enlightened Linux and Mac users might be contaminated with such talk.

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  14. And yet, no-one ever provides any sort of evidence, or even an argument, to back up this position.

    On the contrary, the topic has been hashed to death over the years, and there are at least half a dozen reasons that a PC running OS X would be more secure than one running Windows that have nothing to do with market share.

    Goggle "why Macs are more secure" for a day's worth of reading. E.g.

    http://www.esecurityplanet.com/views/article.php/3658121/Is-the-Mac-Really-More-Secure-than-Windows.htm

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  16. I hate to bring some NEW info into this conversation but look at

    http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2009/03/chrome-is-the-only-browser-left-standing-in-pwn2own-contest.ars

    and


    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9129978&intsrc=news_ts_head


    Then just read up some more abiut the comments from the security researcher who accomplished the above hack.

    Then come back and comment acout Apple MAC and OSX security.

    PS Chrome remained unhacked ;why you might ask a big reason seems to be the security of the BETA Windows os it was run on.

    So not to be snide but please think before opening mouth in some religous defence.

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  17. The only reason you don't have a plethora of worms and viruses on Mac and Linux machines is that there are so few of them.

    I'm sorry but this is untrue. Whilst it is true that there are some holes in various desktop managers, the Linux system separates the administrator (root) account from the user accounts. The only way for a virus to affect system files is to know the root password, or for the root user to download and run the virus.

    With Windows systems, the user account on a personal system is usually the administrator account as well, and as such a virus can infect system files very easily.

    If you have to choose an operating system to attack in order to do maximum damage then windows is by far the best choice.

    For personal computers maybe, but this is completely untrue when considering web servers. In fact since web servers often store vast amounts of secure information, they are perfect targets for attack. The estimates for server OS's range from 30% to 80% Linux, but whatever the truth about those values, there are far more Linux servers than personal Linux machines.

    If anything, you would expect a load of viruses to be created to attack these sites, but they simply aren't.

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  18. Adrian I hate to disagree with you too but then the linux webservers you refer to are some of the most compromised machines out there.

    Debian a rather big linux distro was recently compromised inlcuding if I remember some of it's core repositories. Well what can I say to this.

    Finally Even the new windows though is supposedly more secure with the UAC feature it uses; which gives windows users beter protection by running programs with lower user rights by default and prompting you to elevate had a security design issue.

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  19. "I’m tired of arguing about the security of Windows versus Linux versus OS X. They’re pretty much all the same, and they’re all insecure."

    http://www.tssci-security.com/archives/2007/11/01/operating-systems-arent-any-more-secure-than-the-idiot-using-it/

    Please people, see beyond your faith and grasp reason ;-)

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  20. I also hate typing sudo in front of everything...

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