Microsoft Windows: insecure by design

Monday, 25 August 2003, 10:23 AM EST

Between the Blaster worm and the Sobig virus, it's been a long two weeks for Windows users. But nobody with a Mac or a Linux PC has had to lose a moment of sleep over these outbreaks -- just like in earlier "malware" epidemics.

This is not a coincidence.

The usual theory has been that Windows gets all the attacks because almost everybody uses it. But millions of people do use Mac OS X and Linux, a sufficiently big market for plenty of legitimate software developers -- so why do the authors of viruses and worms rarely take aim at either system?

Even if that changed, Windows would still be an easier target. In its default setup, Windows XP on the Internet amounts to a car parked in a bad part of town, with the doors unlocked, the key in the ignition and a Post-It note on the dashboard saying, "Please don't steal this."

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