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 Microsoft monoculture allows virus spread


New Scientist: A report published on Wednesday by the Computer and Communications Industry Association says that Microsoft's dominance in PC operating systems has created a 'monoculture' that allows viruses to spread like wildfire over the Internet. This lack of diversity allows even simple viruses, created in minutes by so called 'script kiddies' to wreak havoc within hours of creation.

"Nature does not put up with monocultures because they are too easy to attack," says Daniel Geer, one of the paper's authors and chief technology officer for the security company AtStake. "If everything looks just alike . . . it will promptly be punished."

The security problems created by Microsoft are a direct result of the company's business practices, claims the report. The company’s systems are designed to keep out competitors rather than intruders, say the authors.

To which, a spokesman for Microsoft replied: "No other company in the world is more committed to providing its customers with more secure software than is Microsoft."

This reply gave me a good laugh. But when I thought about it, I realized that he was certainly right... in one sense: I guess no company releases more patches than Microsoft!

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