The Times: critical flaw in Windows a ‘stupid pathetic mistake’ vs. Mac OS X ‘proper security archit

“Bill Thompson, computing expert, explains how a basic programming mistake has led to Microsoft’s announcement of a ‘critical’ security flaw in its widely-used Windows operating system. Microsoft programmers made a mistake in the part of the operating system code that allows programs to talk to each other,” The Times Online reports. “This would allow a hacker to send incorrect information to a program and cause it to crash – leaving that computer open to the outside world.”

“When a system crashes it doesn’t stop working, it runs a different program instead – which the hacker can specify and could allow them to take control of the computer. Microsoft is not the only company which writes bad code, but it is a target for hackers because it dominates the market. So it does have a duty to be better than everybody else and it is failing in that duty,” The Times Online reports. “This error is a stupid fault. Whoever wrote that piece of software should be mortified. It’s a pathetic little mistake.”

“This bug was identified six months ago. In the last year Microsoft said that it would focus much more on security. Given that this code was written before then, it can be given the benefit of the doubt. But it is quite clear that buried in the existing code are lots of problems,” The Times Online reports. “Mac OS and Linux are written in such a way that any faults don’t have such widespread effects. They have a proper security architecture built in, limiting access. Windows didn

69 Comments

  1. Good point Scott, there are only 4 here, all doing the same thing.

    An ie 6 update once corrupted the browser, and was a bitch to uninstall. We have not had any problems with the security updates. Sorry you can’t say the same.

  2. Joe, you should be proud that you are so up-to-date with your firewall, virus protection, and security updates. But you are in the minority. The reason why these problems grab the headlines, is because the average person (the “average joe” if you will) is uneducated about virus updates, spyware, patches, and all the other crap that has to be done to keep your PC relatively save. I, too, can get on this forum and brag that I never have never been bothered by a virus on my XP machine, but what does that prove? The average person who buys a PC so they can email relatives or purchase pots and pans off of QVC doesn’t know about security updates, or how viruses can be activated by opening email attactments. (Ever hear of identity theft?) The majority of the 95% – 98% of Windows users are not “educated users”

    And even the educated users must be idiotic too. With whole state agency offices, corporate offices, colleges, bank teller systems, going down because of all these Windows flaws – somebody must be screwing up. Maybe with your free virus protection and firewall you should be an IT consultant for all the other companies who have been effected by those Microsoft “wrinkles”. Hell, these wrinkles have cost companies billions of dollars. Think what you can charge for preventative maintenance.

    Microsoft came out with a quick, easy, cheap operating system that they sold to the masses so they could wipe out competition and make ungodly amounts of money. And they will continue to prey upon consumers as long as we let them. They don’t give a rat’s ass about anything except for being number one.

  3. Joe, you must be running a tiny business isn�t� In our corporate business we cannot afford to spend a lot of time downloading whatever M$ asks us to install. Also, there are company policies, does yours have one?
    On the other hand, if you were well informed you wouldn’t be downloading and trusting everything M$ put on their Windows Update. – M$ has been dragged by governments to tribunals for those very same useless patches which control your machine and makes it a property of M$. Their patches lead your net navigation to wherever they want and restrict you from doing things on your own or as you please.
    Think twice before you update those machines of yours…. I meant those machines you leased from M$
    Peace.

  4. How many people buy the lottery when they know that, chances are, they won’t win?

    How many people buy stock in a company that just announced great news?

    How many people don’t read the small print — OK, any print — before signing some document?

    How many people get suckered by the subliminal suggestions in infomercials?

    How many people bother or try to understand why something is on sale?

    How many people pray, for chrissakes? Or read horoscopes? Or believe FoxNews?

    The answer is… as many as those who buy Windows.

    And they get what they deserve. And they feel good about it.

    ‘Cause they’re human.

  5. Thanks, MDN, for not going postal over the near-obscurity myth.

    “Microsoft … is a target for hackers because it dominates the market.” While there are also other reasons for hackers to target Microsoft, this is definitely one of them. Here are the reasons, in order of attraction factor:

    1. Microsoft is evil.
    2. I spent $400 on this OS, and all I got was this lousy blue screen.
    3. I’ve never written a virus before. Maybe I should start out on the bunny OS.
    4. No love, no respect, no sex…but at least I can be famous by attacking the most popular OS in the world.
    5. Writting a virus is like tapping on the glass at the monkey-boy exhibit. It’s just good entertainment.
    6. I show doze rousy ‘mericans someting!

    As you can see, while Window’s popularity isn’t the biggest draw, neither is it the weakest. Perhaps rather than ranting at any journalist (or whatever you want to call them) who mentions Window’s popularity in the same sentence with security, we should instead encourage them to mention the other reasons too.

  6. OK, Joe Mc, from your posts we figure you are in IT of some sort, network admin or something. My question to you is, what is your reason for being here? Are you a Mac user at all, or are you considering a move to our platform? I’m not making trouble, but would like to understand if you use Mac at all. The reason I ask is, if you don’t have any Mac ties, why come to a Mac forum?

    I can see that as an IT person, you are at least partially forced to use Windows, but do you really *LIKE* windows? If you had your druthers, would you be using Mac?

    IT folks like Windows in a way because it keeps them in business, or it keeps them with a staff. But they can’t really like all the problems that Windows causes.

    So how about a brief explanation as to what you prefer and what your Mac interest is?

  7. Joe McConnel. As many people have said above, you have to take into account the total cost of ownership when you run a business. With all the viruses and security holes for M$ windows, it is becoming more and more obvious that for many(most, all?) businesses Windoze is NOT the most economical choice, even if initial the cost of the machine may be a little less. It is people making the lazy choice and just looking at price tags that has resulted in the prevalence of windoze.

    (and we all know you really wish you were on a mac, Joe. Denial, its not just a river in Egypt. I feel for you bud.)

  8. Joe rather than bitching that it will cost you $10,000 to upgrade to Mac, just come out and admit you made the wrong decision buying that useless PC junk in the first place.

    You’re obviously jealous of the rest of us or you wouldn’t stick around

  9. The IT guy at my company is, due to cutbacks, also the Operations Manager. He knows what he’s doing when it comes to System Administration, but it’s not his only duty. It accounts for approximately one third of his responsibilities. For the last two weeks he’s been wrestling with making sure MyDoom didn’t get around, but doing so messed up some of the software that is critical for most of the 45 employees here to use to do their jobs, and now, just as he got that all worked out, he has to run patches to fix this newest critical flaw and hope that those patches don’t wreck anything that he just repaired, all the while, his other duties are unfortunately ignored. He’s spent 4 nights here in the last two weeks because of all this, going from one computer to the next fixing and patching. All except one that is. The Mac I’m typing on now, which he hasn’t spent a single minute administering since it was purchased a year and a half ago.

  10. “The ten grand or so it would take to replace this hardware with Apple does not seem like a good deal to me. Hell ten grand would only get me started, with all those VPC’s I would need.”

    Sorry McConnel, I am unable to talk through my ASS unlike some people around here.

    Too bad you are not successful enough in what you do to be able to afford to finally DUMP your craptacular Wintel network and buy something that actually works.

    Do Wintel zealots like you EVER factor in their personal time when estimating costs? Apparently not, and there is simply no way you are going to convince any of us running successful companies using Mac networks that we spend even a 5th the time you do messing with network hardware and operating systems.

    We don’t even employ an IT person for our company’s 57 unit Mac network. Several of us know enough about what needs to be done to manage it on our own and considering how little attention the systems require from us, we hardly ever need to think about it. IT JUST WORKS.

    Anything in that last part you don’t understand? You seem incapable of critical thought, so I will assume the answer will be yes.

    I still find it amazing that a Wintel zealot your caliber feels the need to spend so much of your day here on a Macintosh message forum. If you actually learned anything accurate about Macs and OS X through all these discussions you have posted in, that would be one thing, but you are just as clueless about our system of choice today as you were those months ago when you first raised your fat head in public and started spewing your idiotic FUD around.

    Do you even read what others are saying before you post, or do you simply scroll to the bottom and start typing? I suspect the latter.

    That really speaks volumes Joe. Not only do you place little to no value on your personal time, you can’t even claim to have learned anything about the hardware and software you so love to hate. I guess I will never understand the rational or motivation of a full-time troll.

    Still, you do have my sympathy.

    Awaiting a reply from that famous talking ass of yours. ;o)

  11. Good one ndelc.

    I also applaud MDN’s take on this. I think the statement

    ” Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows. 70,000+ Windows viruses and worms vs. 0 (zero) for Mac OS X attests to that fact.”

    Or some equivalent should be included in every article on Windoze (non)Security. This is just too important a stat to be left out and the average Joe user should be informed of this without having to dig.

  12. s, that is so true, rebranding the G5 to HP would be better and more cost effective. No need in recoding an entire OS to work on an Intel chip.

    There just has to be a way to put a big dent in the MS monopoly machine.

  13. Here is my take on why there are no virii on the mac.

    In order to write a virus for a mac, a programmer would have to become very familiar with programming/scripting the mac. Hence, they would have to use the mac for a good deal of time. Chances are that if anyone starts working on a mac with that intention, by the time they build the skills to write malicious code, they will have come to realize the advantages of working on the mac and all their motivation to write malicious code will have evaporated. Why sabotage the OS you love?

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