[maemo-users] Unix vs Windows security (was Re: Nokia device usage)

From: James Knott james.knott at rogers.com
Date: Fri Mar 13 03:26:41 EET 2009
Scott wrote:
> On Mar 12, 2009, at 12:24 AM, Farrell J. McGovern wrote:
>> ScottW wrote:
>>> The Mac and *nix world needs to stop gloating about their clean  
>>> record so far and keep an eye out for what is to come.  Dues to the  
>>> learning curve of the OS, the users were more "enlightened" than  
>>> the common computer user, but now these are  more wide spread and  
>>> the common user will be using them.  The conspiracy theory people  
>>> say that Antivirus companies are the ones making most of the  
>>> viruses so that they have a product to sell, well there is a market  
>>> out there just waiting to be tapped.  Norton AV for Mac is on the  
>>> shelves even though there is only really 1 documented virus, and  
>>> people buy it.
>>> The good ole saying: "The devil's greatest accomplishment was to  
>>> convince everyone he does not exist"... well the Linux virus does  
>>> not exist.
>> You are, of course, making the classic mistake of not understanding
>> security on computer operating systems. Popularity has little to do  
>> with
>> how vulnerable a system is.
>> Fact: Windows XP is about 12 years old, Vista/Windows 7  maybe 5. Unix
>> is 40+ years old.
> I disagree.  I know all about it.  Any time I want to do something on  
> my mac, it asks for authorization.  It is very secure.
The Mac OS is built on BSD Unix.
> You are making the new mistake of believing that people know about  
> security on their computer.  That 40 year old system was being ran by  
> people who know what they were doing and it was not in tens of  
> thousands of homes.  Having to rebuild a kernal or using sudo educates  
> people to the security built into the OS.  Yes I understand how secure  
> it is.  It is not secure because of some mystical higher power.  There  
> is a root login.  There is a root password.  Once those are entered,  
> destruction is a few key clicks away.  Everyone here is cringing  
> because that has been said because we understand what root passwords  
> do.  When the "I just want it to work" computer user gets on there  
> with their root password set to "password" and written on their case,  
> they will be very inclined to type that in any time they are prompted  
> for it whether they know why or not.  These are people who will have  
> no idea there is a CLI, will think a script is what a movie or play is  
> written on, and think that "if the computer is asking me for it, it  
> must me safe".
Many modern Linux distros try to discourage you from running as root. 
The default root KDE desktop on SUSE is red and displays several bombs. 
Even then, kernel space & user space are clearly defined, which makes it
more difficult for malware to work than on Windows, where the
distinction is nowhere so clearly defined and many user applications
require admin rights to function, so the user finds it necessary to run
with admin rights.
> I do agree that the virus will have to take a different tact to get  
> into the system and infect it, but the path is there.  The users will  
> self infect themselves and then the media will report that the Unix  
> virus is wide spread.

Funny thing, I've heard of attempts to write a Linux virus, but none
have been successful.  I wonder why that is?

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