08.08.08

Another Reason to Avoid Mono: Security

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Security, Windows at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately [sic].”

Miguel de Icaza

For reasons and factors that make OOXML not secure, Mono is a security hazard as well. For those who are not yet convinced, there is this brand-new article which highlights the architectural failures of .NET and their impact on security. Read it.

Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system, an advance that many in the security community say will have far-reaching implications not only for Microsoft, but also on how the entire technology industry thinks about attacks.

Also in the news today is this alarming issue of 7 “critical” flaws (the highest level of severity) in Microsoft software.

Does anyone want GNU/Linux to inherit this nightmare? Is this something which belongs in the operating system which NASA, the NSA and the Department of Defense use? What about the cost implications? Beyond the issue of acquisition cost also exist the costs of maintenance, repair, and damage control. Losses incurred by leaks (espionage) and data loss are sometimes invaluable.

A few hours ago, one reader sent us the following message regarding the consequences of poor security.


Note that the bad engineering promoted by Bill Gates and his movement is probably costing Joe Sixpack upwards of 8 hours lost effort per week from malware, instability and poor interoperability. With the US in the economic situation it is in, that may be enough to knock the floor out of the recession. The failure that is Microsoft Vista may be the last straw and take down what’s left of the economy.

“The failure that is Microsoft Vista may be the last straw and take down what’s left of the economy.”Until recently, Microsoft people have been able to stifle security information. However, the EFF’s recent win paves the way forward for better technology to become more visible.

I look forward to the seeing Back-To-School Security Packets in Walmart, Best Buy, and others consisting of Xubuntu CDs.

The last 10 years have shown us nothing if not that FOSS helps make your business more recession-proof.

What we have here is an old and odd spin trotted out yet another time. The spin tries to be negative, but at the end of the day, use of FOSS has boosted the economy there by some $60 billion on unnecessary sunk costs.

Further, since were FOSS tends to lead, it leads due to better performance, quality, interoperability and maintenance, not just cost. So that leads to secondary and tertiary savings. After all, if the IT team is not having to spend all its time chasing fires, it can be far more than $60 billion in savings once the total cost of ownership is settled.

Sure a small wedge of the software sellers might have lost, but the large part of the pie consists of software users. We win here.

____
1) “EFF Wins Protection for Security Researchers” (2007)

2) “Vista’s Security Rendered Completely Useless by New Exploit” (2008)
“… a technique that can be used to bypass all memory
protection safeguards that Microsoft built into Windows
Vista…”
“… the work is a major breakthrough and there is very little
that Microsoft can do to fix the problems…”

3) “This Bug Man Is a Pest” (2008)
“…His syllabus is partly a veiled attack on McAfee,
Symantec and their ilk, whose $100 consumer products he
sees as mostly useless. If college students can beat
these antivirus programs, he argues, what good are they
for the people and businesses spending nearly $5 billion
a year on them? …”

4) “USENIX WOOT07, Exploiting Concurrency Vulnerabilities in System Call Wrappers, and the Evil Genius” (2007)


For those wondering about highly-restrained criticism of Microsoft/Windows security, a mandatory background would be the smear campaigns against security researchers. Smear campaigns are something that Microsoft is intimately familiar with [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Remember the Geer saga, too [1, 2] (little more in [1, 2, 3]). He lost his job for saying the truth about Microsoft’s security shortcomings and the horrific state of the Web, caused largely by Microsoft and its back doors.

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