Does Microsoft Do Enough

By Ryan Naraine  |  Posted 2005-07-03 Print this article Print

to Protect Users?"> We are dealing with very skilled people who know their way around anti-virus defenses. We are seeing botnets used to set up virtual DNS (Domain Name System) servers and were seeing things like cache-poisoning attacks. The mischievous script kiddie has now morphed into a guy with the technical smarts to find weak defenses. And hes looking to profit from it. The majority of these attacks target Windows users. Has Microsoft done enough to protect its customers?
I have to say, SP2 with the firewall turned on by default has changed things for the better.
A lot of credit has to be given to Microsoft for the work they did on that service pack. Theres no doubt in my mind that theyre taking security very seriously, from the executives down to the programmers. They take a lot of flak, but we have to remember that Microsoft is made up of people and people make mistakes. You cant expect 100 percent security from a software product, its just not going to happen. To read why rumors of an upcoming Microsoft purchase have analysts doubting the companys commitment to desktop security, click here. There are a lot of security issues in Linux too, but Microsofts problems are amplified because Windows is the dominant operating system. A problem on Linux wont be as readily apparent because the user base there isnt as big. You can say the same for Apple. Microsofts recent track record around security has been impressive. Can they do more, sure. Its easy to sit in an armchair and take a potshot at them, but you have to give them credit for SP2 and the improvements around responding to incidents. Theyre also working on a new browser to address the threats there, so, overall, Id say they understand what were up against. Whats the default Web browser on your computer? I use Firefox, primarily because of security. When Im browsing the Web, my personal trust is higher with Firefox than with Internet Explorer. I also recommend Firefox to friends and family, but thats not to say Firefox is perfect. Part of staying safe is keeping your software updated. Thats always my recommendation: Use the most updated version of Firefox. Would you consider switching back to Internet Explorer if the security improvements in IE 7 are significant? Id have to test to see what the improvements are, first. It would depend on what they do to address the bigger threats like code-execution attacks. I believe they will do a good job, but I wont know until I see it. Cell phone viruses: real threat or hype? Theoretically, its a real threat. The proof-of-concepts are out there, and theyre capable of doing malicious things. Whether it will actually manifest itself as a real-world threat is a hard call. Personally, I dont think it will be a big deal, because there isnt one dominant operating system on the mobile side. That in itself is a very good defense mechanism. I think well see it evolve as more and more smart phones start carrying sensitive data, but in the short to medium term, its only a low-level threat. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.


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