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3/31/2005
06:19 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Your Take On Windows-Linux Security Study: Yuck

Readers were skeptical of a recent study that found Microsoft Windows to be more secure than Linux, responding to our request for feedback in ways that left little room for misunderstanding.

A reader signing his name as "Tony" said: "Have you ever heard of a case where Microsoft funded an study, the study determined that Linux was more secure, and the study was published?"

Peter Spearing with the Akron Municipal Court Data Processing Department said: "Anyone who is old enough to have quit believing in the tooth fairy knows that nobody funds a report that is going to come up with conclusions that are against their interests. If Red Hat or Novell/SuSE funded a report on the subject I'd feel exactly the same way. I also think the whole subject is essentially a religious argument. Any networkable operating system can be attacked via said network. Use good sense, stay aware of the threats, and make backups."

Patrick Durling: "You said 'In the end, the researchers note rightly, what's important is not who funded the study, but rather how the study was conducted.' You would be more correct to say, 'what's important is not who funded the study, but rather how the results of the study were interpreted.' Since it's possible the results were interpreted subjectively, it's important to understand the motivations of those who conducted the study. It is then logical that the person who funded the study would have an effect on the way the results would be interpreted. To believe this is not so is nave."

Readers also commented on my criticisms of New York and New Yorkers.

Jody Cody: "Aahhh, stuff it in your keister!!" Jody was one of several readers to use the word "keister," which is a fine word that should be used more often.

Pat Babcock: "Don't be too hard on the New Yorkers. You'd be cranky, too, if you had to live with the realization that the light at the end of the tunnel was New Jersey."

More Noteworthy Articles

Microsoft Releases Major Windows Server 2003 Update: The first service pack for the server software includes numerous security fixes, as well as application updates to Internet Explorer and Outlook Express -- all meant to "reduce customer pain centered on server security.""

The 10 Worst Security Practices: Sometimes one whopper of a mistake can be more instructive than a binder's worth of best practices. We interviewed more than a dozen security consultants to arrive at our list. See which ones apply to you, and then learn how to do things better.

Wayne Rash: VoIP 911 Problems Could Kill You: Voice over IP and cell service can't be relied on for 911 calls. That means that ripping out your conventional phone service could be a dangerous -- even deadly -- proposition.

CoolWebSearch, Dubbed Adware's "Ebola," Tops Spyware Threat List: CoolWebSearch, adware that generates more than $300 million a year for its maker, is the "Ebola" of adware, and easily the most significant spyware threat on the Internet, an anti-spyware security firm says.

Macs Becoming More Attractive Target For Attacks: As the Mac regains popularity, more vulnerabilities will likely surface. Mac users should watch out for spyware in particular.

For more opinions, links, and humor about security, technology, and the Internet, see Wagner's Weblog. This week: Longhorn could be a tough sell for Microsoft; a LiveJournal user describes how he did his own detective work and, with a little luck, tracked the guys who stole his credit card; battlefield robo-docs; and links to anti-spyware resources elsewhere on the Internet.

Voting Booth: Windows Vs. The World

Cast Your Vote On Windows Vs. The World

Which operating system is more secure? - Windows - Linux - Mainframes - Macs - VMS - BSD - The skill of the administrator matters more than which platform you use.

Answer, or we'll subject you to a marathon viewing of the 1983 TV series "Manimal."

Previous results:

We asked: What's your favorite way to stay informed on IT topics?

- Using a Web browser to surf to tech sites and blogs: 40%, 91 votes - Reading e-mail newsletters I subscribe to: 27%, 60 votes - Reading a printed magazine I can hold in my hands: 15%, 34 votes - Using an RSS reader or service to gather Web articles: 9%, 21 votes - Calling the Psychic Friends Network: 7%, 16 votes - I'd rather not read about IT topics: 2%, 4 votes

Like I said last week: I was surprised by the relatively low performance of e-mail newsletters (27 percent of respondents), given that the overwhelming majority of respondents to our polls come from the newsletter. It's not too surprising that print magazines should score low (15%) in a poll conducted by a Webzine.

I was surprised by the relatively low results for RSS (9 percent); other studies of our readers have ranked RSS as being more popular. But maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, after all, this is an e-mail newsletter, and my gut feeling is that people who use RSS don't like e-mail newsletters, and vice-versa.

Finally, the relative popularity of our two joke answers — "the Psychic Friends Network" and "I'd rather not read about IT topics" — makes me take the whole poll with a grain of salt.

This poll ran roughly concurrently across the entire line of TechWeb Pipeline sites; we'll bring you the overall results in an upcoming newsletter.

And, finally, if you have anything to say about Windows security vs. other platforms, staying informed on IT topics, or any other subject, give me a shout-out at mwagner@cmp.com. We'll publish the best of your responses.

Witty Conclusion

That's it for this week. Watch your keisters.

Mitch Wagner is editor of Security Pipeline

(Permanent link to this article.)

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