Saturday, July 09, 2005

Close your Windows!

Allergic to Hackers, Trojans, & Worms?
Want to avoid most Virus infections?

What platform do you use? Is it Windows? OS X? Linux? Unix? Why do you use this platform? For most people, the answers are Windows, because that's what came installed on their machine. What makes a platform more or less vulnerable?

First, due to its installed base, Windows is a much bigger target than the others. Second, many users accept the default installation and do nothing to secure their system until they've already been compromised. Third, Microsoft has too many buffer overruns and does not handle them properly. (Buffer overruns are a major vector for exploitation.) Fourth, even though Microsoft has made changes that could make their system more secure, they appear to discourage software vendors from taking advantage of it.

Some users may say that they use Windows because a special progeam they need only runs on that platform. This is a valid reason... if it is indeed true and that program is the only one they can use to perform the given task(s). However, it is very rare that there is only one program that can accomplish the task(s) and you can usually find equivilant software in the *nix (all Unix & Linux distributions) world. Furthermore, if you really do need to run a Windows program, you can do it from within Linux! (providing you have one windows server and the right thin-client)

Are there vulnerabilities in the *nix world too? Of course. However, with a little knowledge and some planning, you can reduce your exposure greatly, especially as compared to Windows. I am told that you can make a Windows system safe and usable too and I would hope that is true. However, most people do not have the skills and patience to accomplish this.

If you are interested in finding a safer alternative, you must take stock of your needs, determine if there are alternative programs to do the same things you have been doing (it's much easier than you may think), and do a little homework to determine the right distribution for
you and plan for a safe implementation.

Many people should probably consult with someone who knows more before proceding but even that is easier than you may think.

Close your Windows, for good!

You can do it. {:^)
reduce costs


Sarah said...

For the self employed there is choice but the vast majority of people it is their employer who makes that decision. The irony, then, is that decision is made on commercial conservatism (don't rock the boat)!

I haven't checked but do SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle desktops run on Linux?

Paul said...

Hi Sarah,

Anything that runs in Windows can be run from a Linux machine with the right client/server setup. Therefore, if the employer can be educated, they will discover they can really reduce their costs and exposure to malware while still running any software they choose. Even Microsoft Office can be run from a Linux desktop. :D