Are you one of the many Windows users feeling a teensy bit insecure today? In the latest security snafu to befall Microsoft
Taking a bit of an open-source approach to writing, I consulted with (and gleaned my headline from) Foolish Chief Security Goon Joshua Brown, who pointed to Microsoft as a company that just doesn't seem to "get it" when it comes to security. The Washington Post reports that a former head of security at Microsoft said, "From a security standpoint, this is sort of like capturing a 1956 Russian fighter jet... Everyone has been beating on Windows 2000 and NT for a long time, and any flaws that may have been found have likely been fixed long ago."
The upshot was, it wasn't security that was the big worry, but rather the intellectual property concerns that Microsoft holds so dear, judging by its closed code. However, while Windows 2000 and NT may be a bit "old" by technology standards, comparing them to an anachronistic fighter jet from just shy of 50 years ago doesn't quite wash.
Further, Brown pointed out that some of the recent virulent worms have been pulled off without possession of actual source code, and those attacks affected users of Windows 2000, NT, 2003, and XP, which all contain a substantial amount of the same code. The worst-case scenario seems to be the possibility that a "zero-day" attack could be launched, which means attackers could exploit vulnerabilities before or at the same time Microsoft uncovers them.
It may still be too soon for a huge exodus of consumer and business computer users switching to Apple
News of security problems has been coming at a furious pace. As if the recent widespread worm attack weren't enough, Microsoft just a few days ago warned that Windows had some major security holes that could make it vulnerable to hacking, and said all users must download a critical patch to protect their systems.
Regardless of the outcome of today's breaking news, it's clearer than ever that Microsoft's got to realize that regardless of its nearly ubiquitous hold on home and business computer users, flawless security -- and keeping its customers from feeling insecure -- is essential to its continued dominance in the field.
Is this a big danger to Windows security or just an embarrassment? Or is it no big deal either way? Get into a heated discussion with other Fools on the Microsoft discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. She is the proud owner of an iMac.