Coffeehouse Thread

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Mac OS X with 100 bugs still safer than Windows

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  • andy_hanger​18

    The short of it is ... Why would anyone hack Linux or Mac?

    A few people find vunerabilities in operating systems and software as its their job. The find it, tell the vendor to give them a chance to fix it, then make the vunerability know so people can look out for it.

    Unfortunately there are far more people who look for the same issues then exploit them with Trojans and Viruses etc. They want to cause as much damage and mess as they can. Some even get a kick out of the misfortune it causes others. The more people who suffer the better.

    Now, if Windows has approx 95% of the market share then its natural people would spend time attacking that system. Why waste their energy on the (relatively) few people who use the lesser common OS's.

    If it were the other way around and, say, the Mac had the 95% share of the market then people would set their sights on hacking that OS. You'd hardly hear of a Windows exploit.

    Its as simple as that really.

  • Rossj

    andy_hanger18 wrote:
    

    The short of it is ... Why would anyone hack Linux or Mac?



    Ah the market share argument. By the same token, why would anyone hack Vista? Maybe, and I speculate, its much touted security is a result of low market share?  I don't believe that - but surely the argument holds?

  • AndyC

    Rossj wrote:

    Ah the market share argument. By the same token, why would anyone hack Vista? Maybe, and I speculate, its much touted security is a result of low market share?  I don't believe that - but surely the argument holds?


    Not entirely. The main aim of hacking into a system these days is to allow the running of malicious applications as part of a botnet. There is a lower barrier to entry if your mass-mailer (or whatever) is already running on Windows. Particularly given that a vulnerability in Vista is quite likely to also be present in previous versus of Windows.

  • BryanF

    Rossj wrote:
    
    andy_hanger18 wrote:
    

    The short of it is ... Why would anyone hack Linux or Mac?



    Ah the market share argument. By the same token, why would anyone hack Vista? Maybe, and I speculate, its much touted security is a result of low market share? I don't believe that - but surely the argument holds?
    Not really. The difference there is that Vista's share is growing by millions a month simply due to the normal rates of the PC industry. It'll be a solid number two behind XP in probably a year.

    EDIT: Grammar fixes.

  • Larry​Osterman

    AndyC wrote:
    
    Rossj wrote:

    Ah the market share argument. By the same token, why would anyone hack Vista? Maybe, and I speculate, its much touted security is a result of low market share?  I don't believe that - but surely the argument holds?


    Not entirely. The main aim of hacking into a system these days is to allow the running of malicious applications as part of a botnet. There is a lower barrier to entry if your mass-mailer (or whatever) is already running on Windows. Particularly given that a vulnerability in Vista is quite likely to also be present in previous versus of Windows.


    I disagree.  I agree with your central premise (the goal these days is to get malware on the box), but disagree that Windows provides a lower barrier of entry.

    The unpleasant fact is that most malware gets installed by the user.  They download the free smileys and get 0wned.  Most botnet clients will run just fine as a normal (non admin) user.  After all, what do botnet clients do?  They mostly send spam, or participate in DDOS attacks or surf the web and you can do that from any OS without requiring root privileges.

    Right now, most botnet clients are written to Win32, so Windows clients are the most attractive. 

    Remember that botnet herders are fundamentally lazy - they don't want to have to work to find targets for his botnet client, they wants to get the largest number of clients with the least work.  They can choose to target the OS with 5% market share or the OS with 2% market share, or they can choose the OS with 90% market share.

    I know which one I'd go for (if I was inclined that way).

  • esoteric

    The answer to Microsoft's security problem is to drastically loose market share. I'm not quite sure the black suits'll bite that bullet tho'. Wink

    But you're right of course.

    The best solution is probably networked blacklisting.

  • AndyC

    LarryOsterman wrote:
    

    I disagree.  I agree with your central premise (the goal these days is to get malware on the box), but disagree that Windows provides a lower barrier of entry.


    Well I meant a lower barrier in the sense that anyone who was writing malware for XP will already have skills in Win32 and an existing code base that can be reused or modified. So even if we assume that Vista and Mac OS X had comparable market share, it doesn't follow that they are in the same position as far as being a potential target goes.

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