CCIA: Microsoft dominance a national security threat; deters customers from switching to other OSes

The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) plans to release a report Wednesday arguing that Microsoft’s dominance in key computer technologies threatens the national infrastructure, Robert Lemos reports for CNET News.com. This may be the first time that this situation has been officially presented to legislators although it’s routinely discussed among security professionals.

According to Lemos, the CCIA report will state that “the reliance on a single technology such as the Windows operating system for such an overwhelming majority of computer systems threatens the security of the U.S. economy and critical infrastructure… The paper, written by three security experts, also warns that many security improvements planned by Microsoft are likely designed to raise the barrier that deters customers from switching to another operating system.”

The report will also blame Microsoft for using security to lock in consumers to Microsoft’s technology and recommends that, “if the company continues to do so, it be held liable for any damage done by security threats in the future.”

Full article here.

12 Comments

  1. The economic impact of the last MS virus was estimated at $26 Billion (US). It shut down entire government agencies, schools, commercial enterprises, and may have caused or contributed to the great blackout of 2003.

  2. Interesting point on the electronic polls. I don’t want punch cards to go away. For those that think the human factor goes away when you go electronic, you are sadly mistaken. I propose that the chance for wrongdoings in an election are greatly increased.

  3. High-profile organizations are starting to stand up and give the Mac real credibility (directly or indirectly) in enterprise, government, and markets where Mac hasn’t had a real foothold. (Even supercomuting and Navy subs!) Multiple different reasons are emerging, and this is an important one to discuss: adding Macs to make a more secure MIX of platforms.

    When a company takes this diversity strategy to heart and considers its options, UNIX is where they will turn. And Mac OS X has huge benefits as the UNIX to choose. A stable, open source foundation with (unlike Linux) a GUI that’s better than Windows–and the ability to run mainstream apps like Office and Photoshop. No other non-Windows platform fits that bill. PLUS all the UNIX apps that can be re-compiled, and the top speed of the G5 when needed. (or for laptops, top portability without giving up the optical drive just to be thin.) Add in the well-documented lower-TCO and longer usable life of Macs (the unlimited-seats licensing of OS X Server sure helps) and it seems that the impossible may happen: large orders of Macs may begin to come from organizations that wouldn’t have touched one 5 years ago. That may be a gradual snowball, but it’s a trend that will grow, offering lots of case studies that make it easy to refute some common anti-mac myths.

    And then AFTER a given company has replaced their monoculture with a Windows/Mac mix, which of those two platforms is likely to cause them more expense, aggravation, privacy/security risk, downtime, end-user frustration, and occasionally even data loss? Anything new requires adjustment and minor retraining–even a new version of Windows every few years–but once the transition is made, which platform in the mix will have more people bugging tech support, more virus attacks, more patching and patch-testing labor, and lower productivity per hour? Windows, of course. It will be the Macs in the mix keeping business running smoothly when the Windows machines are having problems. Not the other way around.

    IT departments that have the courage to embrace Macs are going to be heroes before long. Success stories will keep the snowball rolling.

  4. Nag: I believe you produced a sound text up there. When knowledge about Macs will no more be built on top of FUDs, urban myths, hear-say, old OS 7 incompatibilities but rather on facts and comparison with Windows things will change for sure. When money figures start kick in and the FUD of saving by choosing a Windows mono-culture will evaporate being just that: hot air.

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