[Dshield] MS05-039 exploits prove that pacthing "window" isgetting shorter and shorter and...

admin admin at bartonphillips.com
Fri Aug 19 00:18:37 GMT 2005

>In addition to this, I think Apple users, much like Linux users, are a bit more technical than
>most Microsoft users.  This makes them a bit more aware of security and patching.  This was proven
>to me when I posted an Apple security paper on my site about a year ago, the first of its kind. 
>It was the number one referenced paper for 2 months!  It drew about a half a million to a million
>reads in the 3 months it was up.  This occured while many MS security papers were being posted as
Apple and Linux users are currently a little bit more sophisticated than the average Windows users, but will that last? As more people adopt these OS's I fear that we will see similar results. While both Apple's OS X and Linux are more hardened out of the box than Windows is users can still screw things up. Simple email attacks will be much harder because of the Unix privileges but I have seen enough newbies running Linux as 'root' even after all the install warnings. 

I think it will be somewhat harder for hackers to infect Unix like machines but it has and will happen, especially as the user base becomes less and less computer literate.

I especially look at the mass of ssh scripts out there that are trying to break in. How many systems have poor root passwords? Or how many systems have users with fairly significant sudo privileges that have stupid passwords. I had one on my system (not with any privilege) with the user name 'alan' and password 'alan' the ssh script go into his account without any trouble. Lucky there wasn't anything there and the exploit couldn't escalate. After that I changed all the passwords and stopped letting end users set their own password. I also reduced the number of users with ssh logins significantly.

But users that don't know or care about security will probably get WAKED pretty soon no mater what OS they are using. <sarcasm> I am actually surprised that Microsoft hasn't financed some hacker's efforts to come up with a nice jucy worm for Apple and Linux. </sarcasm>

Barton L. Phillips
Applied Technology Resources, Inc.
Tel: (818)652-9850
Web: http://www.applitec.com

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