“The US Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has sent a letter to Tom Ridge, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, urging the department to stop using insecure software,” The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The CCIA was referring to the recent decision by the Department to buy $US90 million worth of Microsoft software that involves around 140,000 desktops. The CCIA is a non-profit membership organization for companies and senior executives from diverse sectors of the computer and communications industry.

“We believe that the Department should lead by example, and ensure that it uses only the most secure technology, software, and procedures. The Department’s decision does not foster confidence that this goal is being realized,” the CCIA states in the press release.

“Design flaws in Microsoft’s products have recently been responsible for temporary closure of Maryland’s Department of Motor Vehicles offices, failure of the passenger check-in system at Air Canada, an intrusion on the Navy-Marine intranet, and cancellations and suspensions of service on the CSX railroad. Additionally, a Microsoft exploit managed to disable a safety monitoring system at an off-line nuclear power plant,” CCIA states.

“These vulnerabilities and exploits are not new, and unfortunately were predictable. CCIA believes it is critical to maintain secure systems to protect homeland security, and so CCIA has asked the Department to reconsider its decision to promote Microsoft as the default software for DHS. Reliance on a company that distributes products known to have such serious vulnerabilities will not provide adequate security and stability to protect of our nation’s most important computer systems,” CCIA states.

The fill CCIA letter (.pdf) to Tim Ridge is here. [Attribution: The Sydney Morning Herald]

Related MacDailyNews article:
“Apple’s Mac OS X added to U.S. government list of supported platforms” – August 28, 2003