Re: System Security

T.R. Fullhart (
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 02:49:06 -0600

>Faster, yes. However Linux nor FreeBSD is immune, and 95% of
>all installations will succumb if you apply tricks pulled out of
>last year's bugtraq traffic.

Even though Linux is suseptible to attack, that doesn't mean that it is remarkably robust because of it's openness. All systems are suseptable to bugs, hacks, and attacks, but an open sourced project will be able to weather it better than a closed-system.

> > * Don't create an environment in which hackers are treated harshly
> > for relatively harmless exploits -- more holes found and faster,
> > perhaps well-behaved worms are created to seek out and report
> > exploitable holes.

Two good ideas. It leads to survival of the fittest, evolutionary behavior.

>Ok. Macs (Be? OS/2?) are rarely used by hackers, hence the exploits
>are rare. Same applies to switch/router firmware. That's obscurity.
>If you have a 100 types of systems, each with a 1% market share, no worm is
>ever an issue. Civilization doesn't collapse if 1% of all systems are
>suddenly taken out of circulation.

Also very good points. Diversity is also very good.

Both of you are making very good points, but do you see the underlying theme of your discussion? Open systems, evolutionary behavior, diversity. These sound like natural phenomena to me. The have proven to be valuable resources for change and survival in nature. Why should computers be any different?

I suggest that we follow a very Taoist attitude and instead of trying to fight problems, we adopt a more observational attitude and apply techniques that have worked in natural systems to systems that we develope. If it worked for mother nature, I'm sure it will work for us. Let us not reinvent the wheel.

T.R. Fullhart                              |    VetMed Multimedia, KSU
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