Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Open Source vs. Windows: Security Debate Rages On

Filed under
Microsoft
OSS

It's a topic of fierce debate among high-tech cognoscenti: What's more secure -- "open source" code such as Linux and Apache, or proprietary "closed source" operating systems and applications, Microsoft's in particular?

The regularity with which Microsoft has taken to announcing vulnerabilities and consequent software fixes has left few cheering about its security. In contrast, high expectations endure for open source, with proponents arguing that it's inherently more secure because a much larger set of developers can read the code, vet it and correct problems.

"I'm struggling to think of anyone who would argue the other way," says Adam Jollans, chief Linux technologist at IBM Latest News about IBMSoftware Group.

"Discovery is different in the open source and closed source approach," Jollans says. "Because source code is visible to lots of people, if there is a security issue, it tends to be spotted earlier. The open source community isn't shy about criticizing bad code."

Thus, open source developers are "more able to respond quickly and to use new and more secure techniques. Because they perform for peers' kudos, this, too, behooves them to perform well," Clarke says.

"Open source development is centered around operating systems designed many years ago with security and Internet connectivity as a base requirement," he adds.

Open source is foremost an "ethos" that "is precisely the best social environment for the best development of anything," Clarke maintains. "By contrast, the principle culprit of poor security, Microsoft, has several major issues with producing secure code."

Microsoft seems lax to security threats," says Robert Swiercz, managing director of the Portal of Montreal, the city's Web site. "I have less and less ability to trust them." He, too, expresses confidence in the open source community, saying, "This is where the solutions are coming from."

However, some call these assumptions into question and assert there's a lack of accountability in fixing open source. A number of research firms are ready to puncture the belief that open source is by its very nature superior.

Other I.T. managers say they like a lot of open source security tools and applications but corporate policies prevent them from using them.

"We don't do open source because my lawyer says there's no one to sue," says Phil Maier, vice president of information security at Inovant, Visa's technology deployment division. "The lawyers had the final say."

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Five reasons to switch from Windows to Linux

Linux has been in the ascendancy ever since the open source operating system was released, and has been improved and refined over time so that a typical distribution is now a polished and complete package comprising virtually everything the user needs, whether for a server or personal system. Much of the web runs on Linux, and a great many smartphones, and numerous other systems, from the Raspberry Pi to the most powerful supercomputers. So is it time to switch from Windows to Linux? Here are five reasons why. Read more

today's leftovers

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

Security Leftovers

  • Chrome vulnerability lets attackers steal movies from streaming services
    A significant security vulnerability in Google technology that is supposed to protect videos streamed via Google Chrome has been discovered by researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC) in collaboration with a security researcher from Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Berlin, Germany.
  • Large botnet of CCTV devices knock the snot out of jewelry website
    Researchers have encountered a denial-of-service botnet that's made up of more than 25,000 Internet-connected closed circuit TV devices. The researchers with Security firm Sucuri came across the malicious network while defending a small brick-and-mortar jewelry shop against a distributed denial-of-service attack. The unnamed site was choking on an assault that delivered almost 35,000 HTTP requests per second, making it unreachable to legitimate users. When Sucuri used a network addressing and routing system known as Anycast to neutralize the attack, the assailants increased the number of HTTP requests to 50,000 per second.
  • Study finds Password Misuse in Hospitals a Steaming Hot Mess
    Hospitals are pretty hygienic places – except when it comes to passwords, it seems. That’s the conclusion of a recent study by researchers at Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania and USC, which found that efforts to circumvent password protections are “endemic” in healthcare environments and mostly go unnoticed by hospital IT staff. The report describes what can only be described as wholesale abandonment of security best practices at hospitals and other clinical environments – with the bad behavior being driven by necessity rather than malice.
  • Why are hackers increasingly targeting the healthcare industry?
    Cyber-attacks in the healthcare environment are on the rise, with recent research suggesting that critical healthcare systems could be vulnerable to attack. In general, the healthcare industry is proving lucrative for cybercriminals because medical data can be used in multiple ways, for example fraud or identify theft. This personal data often contains information regarding a patient’s medical history, which could be used in targeted spear-phishing attacks.
  • Making the internet more secure
  • Beyond Monocultures
  • Dodging Raindrops Escaping the Public Cloud