Are Linux and Mac really safer from hacking?

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Postby Teaspoon » Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:10 am UTC

One of the things that's keeping Linux on the secure side is that nearly all the Linux machines out there have at least a semi-competent administrator. If it's running at a business there's someone there who has to keep that machine up as part of his job, while a home machine was almost certainly installed by an interested geek who probably hasn't given any kind of dangerous privileges to the other users.

My uncle, for example, is a software engineer and told me a couple of months ago about installing Ubuntu on the computer that his wife and kids use. His seven-year-old (I think!) daughter came home from school that afternoon, went "Oh, Daddy's done something weird with the computer again. How do I- oh, never mind, there's Firefox" and went on her merry way. He's far more comfortable about his kids using Ubuntu on that system than he was about Windows, because he knows they just don't have the privileges to screw it up.

The privileges for standard users under Windows are weird; they get in the way of tasks you expect to be able to do and let you get away with things you shouldn't. Then again, the computer-illiterate home users are nearly all using the administrator accounts that were created by default when they first installed it anyway. Performing your normal tasks under an account with full access to everything is a terrible idea, but it's the natural way to do things in Windows. The Linux way makes it so you're only an administrator if you need it, although I do know someone who modified his config to automatically run "sudo su" in every shell he opened because he thought having to use sudo on individual commands was so horribly frustrating and inconvenient.

Hmmm... convenience is one of the most obvious signs of poor security, isn't it? It's wonderfully convenient to not need a password to log in. It's convenient to be able to edit system configuration files without having to confirm that you really want to.

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Postby Belial » Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:20 am UTC

I would think the measure of secturity would be how much *less* convenient it is for *other people* than it is for you.

So if it's really convenient and easy for you, and causes other people to develop heart-herpes as soon as they try to access it, it's probably good.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


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Postby d3adf001 » Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:37 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Neither are harder to hack/make viruses for. It's just the majority use windows so the majority of hackers/viruses target windows.

But expect similar results for positive things.

ok i challange you to a self propagateing worm for linux. hell if you write it ill run it under ROOT if its selfpropigating. and it cant be a trojan that emails everyone a .tar.gz because thats a trojan

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Postby TheTankengine » Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:04 am UTC

Gelsamel uses MSPaint as his designated image editing program. Something tells me he will not be undertaking that challenge, d3adf001.
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