“Dan Geer lost his job, but gained his audience. The very idea that got the computer security expert fired has sparked serious debate in information technology. The idea, borrowed from biology, is that Microsoft Corp. has nurtured a software ‘monoculture’ that threatens global computer security,” Justin Pope reports for The Rapid City Journal. “Geer and others believe Microsoft’s software is so dangerously pervasive that a virus capable of exploiting even a single flaw in its operating systems could wreak havoc.”
“Just this past week, Microsoft warned customers about security problems that independent experts called among the most serious yet disclosed. Network administrators could only hope users would download the latest patch,” Pope reports. “After he argued in a paper published last fall that the monoculture amplifies online threats, Geer was fired by security firm (at)stake Inc., which has had Microsoft as a major client.”
“Geer isn’t the first to argue that the logic of living viruses also applies to the computer variety, and that the dominance and tight integration of Microsoft operating systems and software makes the global computing ecosystem vulnerable to a cascading failure,” Pope reports. “Geer’s paper did little more than make the point with particular fervor – which only intensified when Geer was fired.”
“‘The hoopla around him losing his job gave the story some extra frisson,’ said Internet security expert Bruce Schneier, a co-author of Geer’s. ‘He got fired because (at)stake wanted to be nice to their masters,'” Pope reports.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: A monoculture is risky, but only really risky when the culture decides, for some daft reasons, to coalesce around a flawed element – in this case, Microsoft Windows. Arguably the worst-designed Mac OS Classic-clone, the Windows OS is broken and IT people who chain their operations solely to Gates’ OS/Office products should be called upon to explain the reasons for making such a costly mistake. And, no, “job security” is not a valid reason, IT folks.