Usenix: Experts debate security through diversity

    Date02 Jul 2004
    4925
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    A monoculture, whether it be in biological terms or in computing terms, has been shown to be inherently dangerous to members of that group, said Dan Geer, chief scientist at Verdasys Inc. Geer was formerly chief technology officer at security company @stake Inc. until he was fired last year for authoring a report critical of Microsoft's dominance of the computing industry and the insecurity of its products that stems from that position. Microsoft is an @stake client. . . . The sheer number of worms and viruses directed at Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser have many in the computer industry wondering whether the cyberworld would be more secure if more users relied on alternatives to Microsoft's products.

    That description appeared to fit about two-thirds of the few hundred system administrators and engineers attending a debate between two prominent security experts at the Usenix 2004 conference in Boston yesterday. A show of hands before and after the debate indicated that most of those in attendance would prefer a more diverse group of operating system and Web browser software.

    A monoculture, whether it be in biological terms or in computing terms, has been shown to be inherently dangerous to members of that group, said Dan Geer, chief scientist at Verdasys Inc. Geer was formerly chief technology officer at security company @stake Inc. until he was fired last year for authoring a report critical of Microsoft's dominance of the computing industry and the insecurity of its products that stems from that position. Microsoft is an @stake client.

    Operating-system diversity can be a relevant part of a secure network, but forcing companies to diversify their operating systems is a tough proposition in a time of declining IT budgets and heavy emphasis on return on investment, said Scott Charney, chief trustworthy computing strategist at Microsoft.

    You are not authorised to post comments.

    LinuxSecurity Poll

    Has your email account ever been pwned in a data breach?

    No answer selected. Please try again.
    Please select either existing option or enter your own, however not both.
    Please select minimum 0 answer(s) and maximum 2 answer(s).
    /component/communitypolls/?task=poll.vote
    12
    radio
    [{"id":"53","title":"Yes","votes":"8","type":"x","order":"1","pct":88.89,"resources":[]},{"id":"54","title":"No","votes":"1","type":"x","order":"2","pct":11.11,"resources":[]}]["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"]["rgba(255,91,0,0.7)","rgba(74,192,242,0.7)","rgba(184,0,40,0.7)","rgba(238,246,108,0.7)","rgba(96,187,34,0.7)","rgba(185,106,154,0.7)","rgba(98,194,204,0.7)"]350
    bottom200

    We use cookies to provide and improve our services. By using our site, you consent to our Cookie Policy.