Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

War of words over operating systems' safety

Filed under

Doubts were cast this week over the security of three major software systems formerly regarded as safe havens from hacker attacks and viruses.

But experts argue that despite the new findings, these systems are still more secure than their Microsoft counterparts because hackers overwhelmingly target the Windows software.

"The Windows problem still dwarfs these other problems because internet criminals know that there are an awful lot of clueless Windows users," says Graham Cluley, security consultant at UK anti-virus firm Sophos.

Until now, the open-source Firefox web browser, Linux-based web servers and the Apple Mac operating system OSX were heralded as more robust to hacker intrusions and viruses than Microsoft's Internet Explorer and the Windows operating systems.

So it came as a surprise to the security community when all three came under attack in two security reports, funded by Symantec - the California-based anti-virus software vendor - and Microsoft.

The debate was sparked Monday when Symantec, released its biannual Internet Security Threat report. The company found that between July and December 2004, 21 new vulnerabilities were discovered in Firefox while only 13 were found in Internet Explorer.

"This runs contrary to a trend seen in previous periods where nearly all browser vulnerabilities affected Microsoft Internet Explorer exclusively," says Symantec in its report.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Security Leftovers

  • Friday's security updates
  • Researchers poke hole in custom crypto built for Amazon Web Services
    Underscoring just how hard it is to design secure cryptographic software, academic researchers recently uncovered a potentially serious weakness in an early version of the code library protecting Amazon Web Services. Ironically, s2n, as Amazon's transport layer security implementation is called, was intended to be a simpler, more secure way to encrypt and authenticate Web sessions. Where the OpenSSL library requires more than 70,000 lines of code to execute the highly complex TLS standard, s2n—short for signal to noise—has just 6,000 lines. Amazon hailed the brevity as a key security feature when unveiling s2n in June. What's more, Amazon said the new code had already passed three external security evaluations and penetration tests.
  • Social engineering: hacker tricks that make recipients click
    Social engineering is one of the most powerful tools in the hacker's arsenal and it generally plays a part in most of the major security breaches we hear about today. However, there is a common misconception around the role social engineering plays in attacks.
  • Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to $8 Million Settlement Over Sony Hack
    Sony agreed to reimburse employees up to $10,000 apiece for identity-theft losses
  • Cyber Monday: it's the most wonderful time of year for cyber-attackers
    Malicious attacks on shoppers increased 40% on Cyber Monday in 2013 and 2014, according to, an anti-malware and spyware company, compared to the average number of attacks on days during the month prior. Other cybersecurity software providers have identified the December holiday shopping season as the most dangerous time of year to make online purchases. “The attackers know that there are more people online, so there will be more attacks,” said Christopher Budd, Trend Micro’s global threat communications manager. “Cyber Monday is not a one-day thing, it’s the beginning of a sustained focus on attacks that go after people in the holiday shopping season.”

Openwashing (Fake FOSS)

Android Leftovers

Slackware Live Edition – Beta 2

  • Slackware Live Edition – Beta 2
    Thanks for all the valuable feedback on the first public beta of my Slackware Live Edition. It allowed me to fix quite a few bugs in the Live scripts (thanks again!), add new functionality (requested by you or from my own TODO) and I took the opportunity to fix the packages in my Plasma 5 repository so that its Live Edition should actually work now.
  • Updated multilib packages for -current
  • (Hopefully) final recompilations for KDE 5_15.11
    There was still some work to do about my Plasma 5 package repository. The recent updates in slackware-current broke several packages that were still linking to older (and no longer present) libraries which were part of the icu4c and udev packages.