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MacRumors
Dec 21, 2007, 09:47 PM
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The U.S. Army believes that diversifying its computing platforms, in part by integrating more Macs, will make it more secure against cyberattacks like the ones that occurred over the summer to the Pentagon and a number of defense contractors.

According to Forbes, the Army has quietly begun to integrate Macs into its systems (http://www.forbes.com/home/technology/2007/12/20/apple-army-hackers-tech-security-cx_ag_1221army.html). While Macs currently only make up around 20,000 of the Army's 700,000 computers, Macs are currently entering the Army at a rate of approximately 2,000 per year.

The previous barriers to Apples entering the Army have recently been overcome by Common Access Card (CAC) software development efforts by a Texas developer (CAC's are used extensively by the military) and security concerns outweighing cost concerns.

"A leaked deployment order, for instance, might reveal the path of a supply truck and the points where it could be sabotaged [...] This is information that affects the lives of soldiers and the civilians we're trying protect [...] It has to be safeguarded."

Every now and then questions rise about the security of Mac OS X. Earlier this year was the Month of Apple Bugs (http://www.macrumors.com/2006/12/19/month-of-apple-bugs-january-2007/), and just this week was an article claiming that Mac OS X had 5 times more flaws than Windows (http://www.digwin.com/view/mac-versus-windows-vulnerability-stats-for-2007) over the past year. However, developments like this seem to indicate that Apple's security reputation remains positive amongst IT professionals.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/12/21/u-s-army-acquires-more-macs-to-enhance-cybersecurity/)



Eidorian
Dec 21, 2007, 09:48 PM
A little old by now but it is interesting news.

More Mac users is always good. :D

I hope that they can develop something for us.

Stridder44
Dec 21, 2007, 09:53 PM
Only good news here.

tothecore
Dec 21, 2007, 09:53 PM
heh...if we keep rubbing it in their face... we'll end up like a PC fearing viruses more & more

noodle654
Dec 21, 2007, 09:54 PM
I wonder what Macs they are using. I would expect Mac Pro's with like 3.0GHz Quad Core??

Eidorian
Dec 21, 2007, 09:56 PM
I wonder what Macs they are using. I would expect Mac Pro's with like 3.0GHz Quad Core??More then likely XServes.

noodle654
Dec 21, 2007, 09:58 PM
Ohhh, you are probably right. I forgot all about the Xservers.

psychofreak
Dec 21, 2007, 09:58 PM
Boy are they going to feel silly when massive updates come at MWSF :rolleyes:

Eidorian
Dec 21, 2007, 09:59 PM
Ohhh, you are probably right. I forgot all about the Xservers.You don't when you have a few and a personal copy of Leopard Server. ;)

noodle654
Dec 21, 2007, 10:03 PM
You don't when you have a few and a personal copy of Leopard Server. ;)

Damn your lucky.

Eidorian
Dec 21, 2007, 10:04 PM
Damn your lucky.Education discounts and seminars really help.

Barcode
Dec 21, 2007, 10:12 PM
New Security update just added.

MattJessop
Dec 21, 2007, 10:14 PM
I wonder if we might see a Mac vs PC taking an army perspective? A US vs Iraq perspective perhaps? We all know Microsoft have hidden WMDs in their software code.

Personally, I'm just waiting for someone to point out that the M1A1 tank feels snappier.

Eidorian
Dec 21, 2007, 10:14 PM
New Security update just added.Indeed (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=403803)

Master Atrus
Dec 21, 2007, 10:18 PM
I wonder if we might see a Mac vs PC taking an army perspective? A US vs Iraq perspective perhaps? We all know Microsoft have hidden WMDs in their software code.

Personally, I'm just waiting for someone to point out that the M1A1 tank feels snappier.


Now that was funny!

LaDirection
Dec 21, 2007, 10:26 PM
Cool, maybe now they port America's Army back to Mac ;-)

AoWolf
Dec 21, 2007, 10:28 PM
Cool, maybe now they port America's Army back to Mac ;-)

They only bought macs to do the artwork for it =p

FX120
Dec 21, 2007, 10:28 PM
I am a little surprised they're not more focused on improving their network security rather than their client machines.

No matter what OS you use, you're only really as secure as the network you're attached to.

irun5k
Dec 21, 2007, 10:29 PM
A lot of the military uses common, standardized platforms like NMCI. I suspect there is little room in these environments for Macs- I recently witnessed a bunch of LCDs being surplused because they weren't on the NMCI approved list. So the old CRTs already in place and on the list were retained instead- brilliant.

I'm sure there will always be remote corners of the DOD where Macs can pop up. In fact, the data processing and analysis area of the base I work at uses Macs- somehow they avoided the NMCI mandate presumably because they made a compelling argument that they had special needs. But don't look for a Macbook Pro on the General's desk anytime soon.

aaarrrgggh
Dec 21, 2007, 10:37 PM
The strategy is to avoid a monoculture by diversifying between operating systems like Windows, Linux, and OS X. It should prevail from the server to the desktop.

It's a huge thing for the military to accept Apple hardware, both for AAPL and the OSX community. For AAPL, it means ~20%+ of US Military (and other militaries around the world eventually) computer purchases are possible with little effort. For OSX, it means that major US government software vendors will not be able to ignore the platform no matter what their preferences are.

There has been talk of this movement for years, but this is the first time the US Military has really gone to the lengths of emphasizing it as a strategy. There should be fallout in corporate america as well. Really, this is a huge story with amazing impact on Apple's opportunities!

chimerical
Dec 21, 2007, 10:51 PM
According to Forbes, the Army has quietly begun to integrate Macs into its systems (http://www.forbes.com/home/technology/2007/12/20/apple-army-hackers-tech-security-cx_ag_1221army.html).

Not so quietly anymore though.

bluedevil14
Dec 21, 2007, 10:53 PM
5 times more flaws? Thats a load of crap.

Stridder44
Dec 21, 2007, 11:21 PM
5 times more flaws? Thats a load of crap.


Anti-Mac people even felt that article was a load of crap.

notjustjay
Dec 21, 2007, 11:28 PM
Personally, I'm just waiting for someone to point out that the M1A1 tank feels snappier.

I have one of those at my workplace :D Loud things. They sound like a jet airplane about to take off -- naturally, because of the way their turbine engine works.

Glad to see the US Army thinks diversification (including Apple) is a good idea. Let's see if other governments follow suit.

bÍte noire
Dec 22, 2007, 12:26 AM
While Macs currently only make up around 20,000 of the Army's 700,000 computers, Macs are currently entering the Army at a rate of approximately 2,000 per year.

A rate of approximately 2,000 per year, eh?

If the Army has 20,000 Macs and we estimate a four-year lifespan per Mac, they'd need 5,000 Macs per year "entering the Army" just to keep the numbers constant. So what the article actually says is that Mac numbers are dropping fast.

If we assume what was meant was an increase of 2,000 Macs per year, (20,000, 22,000, 24,000, etc) and we generously assume a matching decrease in Windows numbers (700,000, 680,000, 660,000), then the Mac will have achieved parity with Windows (360,000 each) in a mere 170 years.

Whoopee.

ryanw
Dec 22, 2007, 12:43 AM
A rate of approximately 2,000 per year, eh?

If the Army has 20,000 Macs and we estimate a four-year lifespan per Mac, they'd need 5,000 Macs per year "entering the Army" just to keep the numbers constant. So what the article actually says is that Mac numbers are dropping fast.

If we assume what was meant was an increase of 2,000 Macs per year, (20,000, 22,000, 24,000, etc) and we generously assume a matching decrease in Windows numbers (700,000, 680,000, 660,000), then the Mac will have achieved parity with Windows (360,000 each) in a mere 170 years.

Whoopee.

In what world do you live in? In the enterprise environments I've been in, the unix servers have more of a 10 year life span than a 5 year life span. They don't interchange unix servers like they do windows boxes. A Dual 1GHz G4 XServe is just as good of a webserver today as it was 4 years ago, stores files just as well, and could also still be running the same installation of the operating system (with security updates of course). Of course it doesn't crunch numbers nor run photoshop as well as the new stuff.

Unix driven hardware from Sun Microsystems (solaris), IBM (AIX), and even HP (HPUX) all seem to stay around forever once implemented. I know of several Sparc 10's still acting as servers for DNS, time servers, NIS, NIS+, print servers or whatever functions they had from a LONG time ago... and this is on MAJOR corporations. It's hard to find money to replace servers that are 'working'... corporations fight fires more than fix stuff that should be fixed.

kaiwai
Dec 22, 2007, 12:48 AM
In what world do you live in? In the enterprise environments I've been in, the unix servers have more of a 10 year life span than a 5 year life span. They don't interchange unix servers like they do windows boxes. A Dual 1GHz G4 XServe is just as good of a webserver today as it was 4 years ago, stores files just as well, and could also still be running the same installation of the operating system (with security updates of course). Of course it doesn't crunch numbers nor run photoshop as well as the new stuff.

Unix driven hardware from Sun Microsystems (solaris), IBM (AIX), and even HP (HPUX) all seem to stay around forever once implemented. I know of several Sparc 10's still acting as servers for DNS, time servers, NIS, NIS+, print servers or whatever functions they had from a LONG time ago... and this is on MAJOR corporations. It's hard to find money to replace servers that are 'working'... corporations fight fires more than fix stuff that should be fixed.

Reminds me of a university who had a Sun machine 15 years old. Unless one needs major number crunching power - the need to replace the PowerPC servers will because of hardware faults rather than 'not being fast' given that the CPU is hardly stressed.

Eidorian
Dec 22, 2007, 12:51 AM
I still with the turnaround on my thin clients. :rolleyes:

bÍte noire
Dec 22, 2007, 01:45 AM
In what world do you live in?

I live in a world where an increase of 2,000 Macs per year (per original post which, incidentally, made no mention of servers) is a constant increase, no matter how long each Mac lasts. [In] What world do you live in?

The point I am making is that the Army's increase of 2,000 units per year (out of 700,000) is pretty insignificant. Tell me that they are increasing by 20,000 per year and I might get excited.

TurboSC
Dec 22, 2007, 01:46 AM
Holy crap, I'd love a digital camo dressed MBP... :drool:

ChrisA
Dec 22, 2007, 01:57 AM
I wonder what Macs they are using. I would expect Mac Pro's with like 3.0GHz Quad Core??

My bet is mostly notebooks. These are used for normal office work, reading email, editing spreadsheets and the like. No one is integrating Macs into tactical systems.

mikeinternet
Dec 22, 2007, 02:01 AM
i'd rather the army not associated with apple.

( these numbers most likely reflect machines bought so teenage soldiers can make war propaganda with iMovie )

yamabushi
Dec 22, 2007, 02:37 AM
<deleted>

NMR Guy
Dec 22, 2007, 02:58 AM
Personally, I'm just waiting for someone to point out that the M1A1 tank feels snappier.

It does! (http://orbitalarm.bungie.org/downloads/alephone.html#M1A1) With high-res textures too.

surferfromuk
Dec 22, 2007, 03:26 AM
Given that Microsoft is displaying the first signs of 'crumbling empire syndrome' - it sounds like a sensible move.

The 'genuine authentication' process ALONE is enough to warrant complete abandonment of the Window platform - the last thing you'd need in battle is to have to 'call up Microsoft' to keep your copy of Windows from shutting you down.

Don't think anyone wants to drive a 'Vista Battle Tank'!

Imagine the split second accuracy of a take down been fubar'd by the little blue spinning wheel of death popping up and proceeding to do nothing for the next 30 seconds...

Amuraivel
Dec 22, 2007, 03:59 AM
i'd rather the army not associated with apple.


Why not?

Sure the Army's bureaucracy is dauntingly inefficient and wasteful, but

A. The US Army is by historical standards the most professional fighting force ever fielded (except Sparta's hoplites);

B. The US Army has some of the most cutting edge IT, supporting Apple is a vote of confidence showing the maturity of the OSX platform.

Analog Kid
Dec 22, 2007, 04:27 AM
The strategy is to avoid a monoculture by diversifying between operating systems like Windows, Linux, and OS X. It should prevail from the server to the desktop.
Exactly. This isn't about Macs being more secure or less secure, this is about adding variety to add security. A Mac vulnerability won't take down the Windows machines, a Windows vulnerability won't take down the Macs.
Boy are they going to feel silly when massive updates come at MWSF :rolleyes:
Ok, now *that* was funny...

DarthTreydor
Dec 22, 2007, 04:39 AM
i'd rather the army not associated with apple.

i'm glad i'm not the only one who thinks so.

AdeFowler
Dec 22, 2007, 05:10 AM
Do the army's macs have colonel panics? :D



that was cr*p

diamond.g
Dec 22, 2007, 06:49 AM
My bet is mostly notebooks. These are used for normal office work, reading email, editing spreadsheets and the like. No one is integrating Macs into tactical systems.
Wont use notebooks, the iSight is a security risk. Unless Apple is specially designing notebooks for the military (highly highly doubt).
Given that Microsoft is displaying the first signs of 'crumbling empire syndrome' - it sounds like a sensible move.

The 'genuine authentication' process ALONE is enough to warrant complete abandonment of the Window platform - the last thing you'd need in battle is to have to 'call up Microsoft' to keep your copy of Windows from shutting you down.

Don't think anyone wants to drive a 'Vista Battle Tank'!

Imagine the split second accuracy of a take down been fubar'd by the little blue spinning wheel of death popping up and proceeding to do nothing for the next 30 seconds...

Genuine Advantage/Authentication is irrelevant in the DoD space. DoD pays big bucks for Volume Licensing so it was never a concern.

I would be more impressed if it was the Air Force doing it (the AF's network is larger than the Army's), but there has to be a start somewhere. Now all Apple has to do is convince DoJ and DoE to convert.

drater
Dec 22, 2007, 06:55 AM
cyber attacks on the OUR government?! NO FRIGGIN' WAY! hahahaha!

But seriously, this is what happens when the government offers people half of what the private market offers to do the same job. And then they wonder why.

EagerDragon
Dec 22, 2007, 07:01 AM
Great news, more Macs out there, a nice exposure for the Mac at the enterprise level.

Also with all the security concerns, we may see more attention to hardening of Mac OS X, while there are some guides out there including the NIST one, we can go further. Hope this is a close relationship with Apple so there is a full circle of input and the product gets better.

As to "network security", network security is just one of many layers that need to be in place. Most attacks now days are at the application level and not the network or OS level. But any weakness provides the foothold to search for other vulnerabilities that could not be reached otherwise.

Security needs to be baked in, not bolted on and needs to occur at multiple layers.

I remember one very stupid executive that was in charge of security tell us that "we do not need data validation, we have authentication". He lost a lot from that statement and no longer states that, but I think he still believes it even 7 years later.

His statement was basically, "you wont hack us if we know who you are". He used to be in the area of mainframe networking.

We will cheer when this individual no longer has the ability to influence security, we can then concentrate on fixing all the damage he done over the years.

EagerDragon
Dec 22, 2007, 07:35 AM
i'd rather the army not associated with apple.

( these numbers most likely reflect machines bought so teenage soldiers can make war propaganda with iMovie )

You are letting your political views cloud your judgement. The military has been using all flavors of computers for many years.

As a matter of fact, the military is working in a lot of advanced stuff, they are just not telling you about it. Most people are only exposed to the systems that run the military payroll and other non-sensitive technology.

I left the military in 1982 after close to 10 years, and I was working on stuff in the military over 25 years ago that is now being adopted in civilian life.

The military has a huge budget, a large chunk of it is used in the area of research (yes for weapon systems and networking), some of those dollars also goes to universities for the development of technology that the military thinks can be useful to them. BTW, less than 10% of those projects ever get used in a weapon, some goes into better and more effective communications, devices, vehicles, materials, insulation, cooling, all sorts of stuff.

There is a chance that you could have paid more for college had the military not provided millions to your university.

A lot of advancements in communications, computers, radios, plasma screens, batteries, cooling, and many others would not be available today had the military not decided it was interesting.

Nicky G
Dec 22, 2007, 08:41 AM
The army and DOD at large use all sorts of Macs, everything from Mac minis to Mac Pros to laptops to Xserves and Xserve RAIDs.

weezer160
Dec 22, 2007, 09:03 AM
Most of the time, the security flaws in Macs are more "proof of concept" situations. I'm sure there are some serious ones out there, but if you were to scrutinize the security to no end, you will find something regardless. With windows, you don't need any scrutiny, just go online and get something, where as the flaws in Mac OS X seem to be reliant on very specific circumstances, in which most people drop their guard and download and/or install something questionable in the first place.

Bobthemonkey
Dec 22, 2007, 09:17 AM
Wont use notebooks, the iSight is a security risk. Unless Apple is specially designing notebooks for the military (highly highly doubt).

Its not just the Mil. who class cameras as a security risk. Nokia now make phones specifically without cameras for areas where they are not allowed. I'm suprised Apple hasn't followed - just leave out the iSight hardware - even if its only on commercial bulk orders, rather than the machines shipped to retail stores.

Meicyn
Dec 22, 2007, 09:19 AM
According to Forbes, the Army has quietly begun to integrate Macs into its systems (http://www.forbes.com/home/technology/2007/12/20/apple-army-hackers-tech-security-cx_ag_1221army.html).
Am I the only one who sees the irony in this sentence? I mean, if I were developing some new defense mechanism, I wouldn't go around broadcasting what it is to mainstream news sites. That's not exactly what I would consider quiet.

lkrupp
Dec 22, 2007, 09:29 AM
Boy are they going to feel silly when massive updates come at MWSF :rolleyes:

Yeah, I can see it now. Defense Secretary Gates bitching and whining about how they bought Macs a couple of weeks ago only to have Apple release new ones at MWSF. Then he'll start crying about how Apple should have told him the new models were coming out and how Apple screws over its loyal customers and how Apple should offer some sort of rebate or trade-in for early adopters and how Apple is an evil corporation. Then we'll hear the solemn declaration that he'll never buy Macs again because Apple is arrogant and has become the new Microsoft.

This all sounds familiar to me. I've heard this stuff somewhere before. Can somebody refresh my memory on this?:cool:

rockosmodurnlif
Dec 22, 2007, 09:30 AM
i'd rather the army not associated with apple.

( these numbers most likely reflect machines bought so teenage soldiers can make war propaganda with iMovie )

Because of what? What does the Army do that is so offensive to you?
And too bad for you, Apple sells computers, the Army buys computers, it works out great for both of them.

I, like everyone else, will simply ignore your second sentence.

Blue Velvet
Dec 22, 2007, 10:10 AM
Mods note: Let's keep the thread clear of the off-topic political issues, thanks. It's understandable that people have strong feelings about the issue but this isn't the thread for it.

The rules and decisions are made to protect this goal over all else, first and foremost in the News and Article Discussion forums. Following closely are forum discussions about other aspects of Macs and for giving help to fellow users. Further down the list is the Community Discussion forum, and far at the bottom of the list is the Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum.

http://guides.macrumors.com/Help:Forum_Rules#Goals_of_the_Forums

tcoleman
Dec 22, 2007, 10:16 AM
Given that Microsoft is displaying the first signs of 'crumbling empire syndrome' - it sounds like a sensible move.

The 'genuine authentication' process ALONE is enough to warrant complete abandonment of the Window platform - the last thing you'd need in battle is to have to 'call up Microsoft' to keep your copy of Windows from shutting you down.

Don't think anyone wants to drive a 'Vista Battle Tank'!

Imagine the split second accuracy of a take down been fubar'd by the little blue spinning wheel of death popping up and proceeding to do nothing for the next 30 seconds...

... and imagine what a spinning beach ball would do instead? ;)

twoodcc
Dec 22, 2007, 10:19 AM
i think this is great news. i hope they continue to add more macs as well

centauratlas
Dec 22, 2007, 10:56 AM
As a long time Mac user (Jan 1984, 128k), I believe Apple has a good reputation for security. This is the type of positive press that shows how important it is to preserve that reputation.

Apple needs to do everything possible to plug security holes in a timely fashion because once lost a good reputation is hard to regain.

EagerDragon
Dec 22, 2007, 11:13 AM
Along this line,

At the company I work for, we prohibited new development of Internet facing applications that will run on Windows machines. All forward facing windows system will be aged and then decommissioned.

Now that was not easy or popular. The military maybe heading down the same road.

indatext
Dec 22, 2007, 11:27 AM
Marines even used iPods there.

besson3c
Dec 22, 2007, 11:37 AM
This is good news. A user friendly Unix computer system is appealing to many large organizations, including the military. Being completely reliant on Windows is a very bad thing in terms of reliability and security.

There are many more opportunities for Apple to make inroads in the government sector. Replacing existing legacy Unix systems only requires relatively small software changes and a marketing push that relies on word of mouth, expert opinion, and the special purchasing support required for government sales.

Replacing Windows systems is more challenging but entirely possible. Just sponsor some testing to ensure they comply with existing web based software and communicate well with other software to the extent possible.

A goal of capturing a market percentage approximately equal to home users would be realistic.


Replacing Unix systems is far more than just a simple software change. Simply put, OS X Server is not an enterprise computing platform. Apple's enterprise support is also apparently quite lacking - they simply aren't setup to provide enterprise class computing, although the recent XServes would make decent clusters.

I use a Mac on the client side, but I personally would never use one as a server the way things stand now.

MagnusVonMagnum
Dec 22, 2007, 11:38 AM
The question for me is whether this move will mean that Apple will start catching the eye of more hackers. One of the things that has kept the Mac platform free of viruses and trojans is that the platform has been largely considered insignificant and a waste of time to develop them for it. If the government starts using lots of Macs (not to mention more popular items like the iPhone and the increased sales of Macs in general in recent years, especially laptops), there will be incentive for hackers to start attacking Macs and I'm afraid we'll find out the Mac isn't so secure as people want to believe it is, but rather was never really tested/exploited by the hackers that be, so-to-speak. Sure it's Unix, but Unix in general isn't targeted by the masses either. Maybe it will be good for the long term security of both MacOS and Unix systems in general if some security flaws are exposed so they can be fixed. I mean imagine if Windows weren't attacked like it is. It'd still have thousands and thousands of security flaws that are NOT there today and could be that much more easily hacked by cyber-terrorists or the like.

Things like the power grid need to be protected like nothing else. Imagine the power going out for months (a scenario mentioned in recent months if generators were overloaded via computer hacking) . It'd be chaos. I'd prefer such systems be off the Net PERIOD. It's too risky. Yet we're seeing more and more systems worldwide all linking up to the Internet for productivity or remote access reasons. It's a global catastrophe waiting to happen, IMO, Mac, Unix or PC alike. Those systems should be on private extra-networks, not the Internet, IMO. Anything connected to the Internet has an inherent risk that can't be fully eliminated no matter how good the security of a particular OS or software. Anyone ever see WarGames? It's not so far-fetched (minus the self-aware computer aspect) and that was presupposed using ancient modems, not high-speed networks. I can't recall how many times they've talked about x military computer previously thought impervious to attack being hacked by someone in years past (usually relatively harmless "see if I can do it" type things), but when things like Blue-ray and iPhone are hacked in a few weeks or months despite the best efforts to keep them secure, well.... the writing is on the wall, I'm afraid. NO computer or network is truly secure. If the government believes simply adding Macs will completely change that, I'm afraid they're mistaken. I agree that advertising the move is not very smart either and certainly not "quiet".

besson3c
Dec 22, 2007, 11:38 AM
Great news, more Macs out there, a nice exposure for the Mac at the enterprise level.

Also with all the security concerns, we may see more attention to hardening of Mac OS X, while there are some guides out there including the NIST one, we can go further. Hope this is a close relationship with Apple so there is a full circle of input and the product gets better.

As to "network security", network security is just one of many layers that need to be in place. Most attacks now days are at the application level and not the network or OS level. But any weakness provides the foothold to search for other vulnerabilities that could not be reached otherwise.

Security needs to be baked in, not bolted on and needs to occur at multiple layers.

I remember one very stupid executive that was in charge of security tell us that "we do not need data validation, we have authentication". He lost a lot from that statement and no longer states that, but I think he still believes it even 7 years later.

His statement was basically, "you wont hack us if we know who you are". He used to be in the area of mainframe networking.

We will cheer when this individual no longer has the ability to influence security, we can then concentrate on fixing all the damage he done over the years.


The problem is not with the security of OS X, but the functionality of OS X Server. OS X Server is a joke of an enterprise computing server OS, sorry to say.

besson3c
Dec 22, 2007, 11:42 AM
Apple's lacking presence in the enterprise has very little to do with the security of OS X, but in OS X Server and Apple themselves.

Apple has positioned OS X Server as an easy-to-use "just-add-water" type server solution for small business providing the familiar Apple bubble. Once you need to leave the Apple bubble, all of the advantages of using OS X are lost, and it becomes increasingly difficult.

Again, Apple's focus is not in Enterprise computing.

besson3c
Dec 22, 2007, 11:46 AM
Sure it's Unix, but Unix in general isn't targeted by the masses either.

That's not true at all. Unix and Linux has been running on servers forever, it is very much a target. Where it isn't a target is in building botnets, but that doesn't mean that Unix is not a target.

EagerDragon
Dec 22, 2007, 11:55 AM
The problem is not with the security of OS X, but the functionality of OS X Server. OS X Server is a joke of an enterprise computing server OS, sorry to say.

I don't have a copy of OS Server to test so I will go along.

However when it comes to security a lot of times it is an issue of how the system is configured that makes a big difference. The most perfect system can be easily made vulnerable after some clueless person makes changes to the system settings.

Better hardening of the OS (OS X, Solaris, Linux, Windows (all flavors)) by a professional, makes a lot of difference.

There are a lot of Xnix programs and facilities that should be removed and or disabled to raise the security of the systems. People think of hackers as outsiders and lacking of internal information. In reality the most successful and damaging hacks are performed by insiders. But a lot of corporations still only worry about the outsider and not the insider. Systems need to be harden against both.

besson3c
Dec 22, 2007, 12:19 PM
I don't have a copy of OS Server to test so I will go along.

However when it comes to security a lot of times it is an issue of how the system is configured that makes a big difference. The most perfect system can be easily made vulnerable after some clueless person makes changes to the system settings.

Better hardening of the OS (OS X, Solaris, Linux, Windows (all flavors)) by a professional, makes a lot of difference.

There are a lot of Xnix programs and facilities that should be removed and or disabled to raise the security of the systems. People think of hackers as outsiders and lacking of internal information. In reality the most successful and damaging hacks are performed by insiders. But a lot of corporations still only worry about the outsider and not the insider. Systems need to be harden against both.


And often times these computers become this way because they become difficult to manage, just like OS X Server would be if put in that situation and made to handle enterprise computing tasks.

Padraig
Dec 22, 2007, 01:10 PM
Why not?

Sure the Army's bureaucracy is dauntingly inefficient and wasteful, but

A. The US Army is by historical standards the most professional fighting force ever fielded (except Sparta's hoplites);


Hoplites weren't professional soldiers. Good move on the US Army's part, makes sense to diversify your risk.

HLdan
Dec 22, 2007, 01:42 PM
Boy are they going to feel silly when massive updates come at MWSF :rolleyes:

When it comes to the U.S Army they are not consumers like the rest of us. They wouldn't care if they got models 2 years old as long as the Mac they are using is doing the job.

TantalizedMind
Dec 22, 2007, 01:44 PM
Does the US Army get digital camo Mac Pros?

EagerDragon
Dec 22, 2007, 01:54 PM
Does the US Army get digital camo Mac Pros?

Yes but in different patterns and colors depending on the Theater of Operation.

SiliconAddict
Dec 22, 2007, 03:28 PM
*sighs* Why do the headlines always get mangled around with? Macs are being purchased to diversify the security in the Army. In an IT environment, appropriately configured, I will say this with 100% certainty, Windows XP is as secure as OS X...period. End of story. The problem is most people who do IT now a days are idiots who got their MCSE through a boot camp and don't have a freaking idea of HOW Windows works in the background and as such they are poorly configured. I have to imagine the Army is a different matter. No its about diversity. Having the same computer OS everywhere is just a bad idea in general. Diversity breeds security. What you think all humans are the same? Why do you think some people react differently to the flu then others? But it breeds security from the standpoint that a virus from Windows can't infect a *nix system nor are the attack vectors the same on a *nix system. Personally I wouldn't use OS X on a Mac. I would probably go with a stripped down version of BSD....yah I know OS X is based on BSD but OS X's, especially Leopard's, security is interesting. Especially its built in firewall. Its just a theory but a lot of OS X's API and front end makes me wonder how much of that is open to the possibility of hacking the OS. No the Army should grab BSD and build their own UI for it. OS X is a fine OS...for consumers. In a mission, and security critical roll I simply don't trust it...It really hasn't had a trial by fire yet in a larger scale corp environment. When half the corp world is going OS X, then lets talk.

besson3c
Dec 22, 2007, 03:48 PM
*sighs* Why do the headlines always get mangled around with? Macs are being purchased to diversify the security in the Army. In an IT environment, appropriately configured, I will say this with 100% certainty, Windows XP is as secure as OS X...period. End of story. The problem is most people who do IT now a days are idiots who got their MCSE through a boot camp and don't have a freaking idea of HOW Windows works in the background and as such they are poorly configured. I have to imagine the Army is a different matter. No its about diversity. Having the same computer OS everywhere is just a bad idea in general. Diversity breeds security. What you think all humans are the same? Why do you think some people react differently to the flu then others? But it breeds security from the standpoint that a virus from Windows can't infect a *nix system nor are the attack vectors the same on a *nix system. Personally I wouldn't use OS X on a Mac. I would probably go with a stripped down version of BSD....yah I know OS X is based on BSD but OS X's, especially Leopard's, security is interesting. Especially its built in firewall. Its just a theory but a lot of OS X's API and front end makes me wonder how much of that is open to the possibility of hacking the OS. No the Army should grab BSD and build their own UI for it. OS X is a fine OS...for consumers. In a mission, and security critical roll I simply don't trust it...It really hasn't had a trial by fire yet in a larger scale corp environment. When half the corp world is going OS X, then lets talk.


Windows XP is *not* as secure as OS X, unless you don't run as an administrator and don't mind the fact that there are some things you can't do without being an admin.

If you are running as an XP admin, compared to running as an OS X or Linux admin the security model is really lacking in sanity. I would love to hear the rationale behind your argument.

Shore Points
Dec 22, 2007, 05:24 PM
My bet is mostly notebooks. These are used for normal office work, reading email, editing spreadsheets and the like. No one is integrating Macs into tactical systems.

I'm in the Air Force and I can tell you...if they decided to swap over to Macs for "normal office work"....the Department of Defense would shut down. We are VERY windows based....Win XP...Office....blackberry...ect. We rely heavily on internet based products (intranets, ect). Firefox is not generally approved...and I don't know what kind of security Safari brings to the table.

Outlook is a another example...not just for email but for the PIM stuff it provides. I know there are similar mac products.....but I think Outlook does it better.

And...IMHO...I don't see the cost benefits. The DoD buys computers on a group buy system. Every three years or so...when it is "life cycle replacement" time....pallets and pallets of computers hit the comm. squadron for distro. Sometimes it is Dell....sometimes HP....whoever is the "low bidder." Your thoughts of those companies aside....a Dell and some Norton anti-virus software (which the DoD has a blanked licence for) must be tons cheaper than buying truckloads of Macs.

Besides that...I can't tell you how many folks are technopheasants when it comes to working windows aps. At least most folks have a general understanding of these products where as most folks have never even touched a mac in their life.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not arguing the overall value of Mac vs. PC....I'm just saying that there will be a immeasurable growing pains invovled....and productivity will sink for a while. The learning curve will be insane! Forget about it if they don't make the switch for 100% of the force. Folks move around a lot. What a PITA if one office was PC based...then their next office was Mac based....sheesh!

With that....I work with military graphics folks and photographers. They'd all rather have a Mac to work projects....but for day to day stuff....I think they are happy w/ their PCs.

Just my perspective.

synth3tik
Dec 22, 2007, 05:36 PM
Firefox is not generally approved.

Thats odd. You would think they would not want people using the security hole known as IE. I work for a chip manufacturer and we are not allowed to use IE. It's the Firefox way (or with mine being the only Mac, the safari way) or the highway.

stealthman1
Dec 23, 2007, 12:33 AM
I was at Costco today and saw that M$ now has it's own anti-virus suite they sell at Costco for $39.99. Now that takes balls.

Eidorian
Dec 23, 2007, 12:36 AM
I was at Costco today and saw that M$ now has it's own anti-virus suite they sell at Costco for $39.99. Now that takes balls.OneCare has been out since early 2006... :confused:

FFTT
Dec 23, 2007, 10:09 AM
I think the Windows trained IT professionals fear Mac OS X not for the security of the operating system, but the security of their employment.

If users are connecting to the internet, this is where Mac OS X is clearly more secure.

We must give due credit for the users here in these forums who have outlined
the correct ways to use Mac OS X in a secure network environment.

Finally, keep in mind that some very influential people have kids using Mac OS X in school. They see how their kids are no longer plagued with Windows
Viruses and malware and that they rarely need IT help.

The real weakness in computer security is directly related to the lack
of Mulit-Platform training offered to so called IT security professionals.

BackInTheSaddle
Dec 23, 2007, 01:56 PM
A rate of approximately 2,000 per year, eh?

If the Army has 20,000 Macs and we estimate a four-year lifespan per Mac, they'd need 5,000 Macs per year "entering the Army" just to keep the numbers constant. So what the article actually says is that Mac numbers are dropping fast.

If we assume what was meant was an increase of 2,000 Macs per year, (20,000, 22,000, 24,000, etc) and we generously assume a matching decrease in Windows numbers (700,000, 680,000, 660,000), then the Mac will have achieved parity with Windows (360,000 each) in a mere 170 years.

Whoopee.

Actually, if there is an increase in Macs and decrease in Windows PCs as stated, the two series will converge in 30.9 years, not 170, and it will be at 81,818 computers each.

TurboSC
Dec 23, 2007, 02:07 PM
Yes but in different patterns and colors depending on the Theater of Operation.

I'd have to go with the red tiger camouflage or possibly the digital errr gray camo? I guess it's considered urban camo?

Regardless, it would be bad ass. :P

bÍte noire
Dec 23, 2007, 08:11 PM
Actually, if there is an increase in Macs and decrease in Windows PCs as stated, the two series will converge in 30.9 years, not 170, and it will be at 81,818 computers each.

The Army has 700,000 computers now. The assumption is that this number will stay more or less the same. How the heck do you figure that 81,818 Macs plus 81,818 Windows (i.e. 163,636 total) is anywhere near 700,000? :confused:

yamabushi
Dec 24, 2007, 06:50 AM
<deleted>

Blue Velvet
Dec 24, 2007, 07:22 AM
OS X is a fine OS...for consumers. In a mission, and security critical roll I simply don't trust it...It really hasn't had a trial by fire yet in a larger scale corp environment.


What do you think large-scale publishing outfits use?

ClimbingTheLog
Dec 24, 2007, 11:19 AM
The Army has 700,000 computers now. The assumption is that this number will stay more or less the same. How the heck do you figure that 81,818 Macs plus 81,818 Windows (i.e. 163,636 total) is anywhere near 700,000? :confused:

Nothing to add, just thanks for flogging the fanatics with merciless logic.

Respect.
:apple:

rbhudelson
Dec 24, 2007, 11:41 AM
In an IT environment, appropriately configured, I will say this with 100% certainty, Windows XP is as secure as OS X...period. End of story. Personally I wouldn't use OS X on a Mac. I would probably go with a stripped down version of BSD....yah I know OS X is based on BSD but OS X's, especially Leopard's, security is interesting. Especially its built in firewall. Its just a theory but a lot of OS X's API and front end makes me wonder how much of that is open to the possibility of hacking the OS. No the Army should grab BSD and build their own UI for it. OS X is a fine OS...for consumers. In a mission, and security critical roll I simply don't trust it...It really hasn't had a trial by fire yet in a larger scale corp environment. When half the corp world is going OS X, then lets talk.

Just because you say it doesn't make it so. Windows XP, even when hardened, is not remotely as secure as OS X.

With that said, OS X has only recently gained the attention of the hacking community and I am 100% certain there will be additional security issues found. The real beauty behind OS X is the ease and reliability of patching the OS compared to Windows. I can't tell you how many times a Windows Security Patch has broken both client and server side applications. Distributing software on *Nix based systems is several orders of magnitude easier and less problematic than on Windows.

The thing people, especially technical people, have to keep in mind is that most "users" don't care. They just want something that works, stays out of their way and doesn't require a bunch of futzing with. The other thing is people just expect security and are mostly dumbfounded, offended and embarrassed when they are the reason for data loss, identity theft or work disruption.

My perspective has been formed by years of managing tens of thousands of desktops and ten thousand servers in over one hundred countries. My last real job was running desktop and server engineering for a leading computer maker. I have carried a Mac for 4 years but would gladly leave them if something better, more elegant and secure comes along - it's just for now - there's not.

indatext
Dec 25, 2007, 04:53 AM
...There have been several large Mac clusters that have been good enough to hit the top 500 supercomputers list in the last few years. They all ran OS X if I remember correctly.

...

Yes, there are at least 2 Mac OS X based supercomputers in the list of http://www.top500.org/stats/list/30/os.
But. For Apple being in this list is not a business, but marketing. Since business in the field is for IBM and HP. Just take a look in the list.
This means that Mac OS X is capable enough to "make decent clusters". But Apple is B2C company and is internally to weak to cover segment of cluster computations. Its just about personnel and management problems, not OS ability.

coffey7
Dec 25, 2007, 07:25 PM
Mods note: Let's keep the thread clear of the off-topic political issues, thanks. It's understandable that people have strong feelings about the issue but this isn't the thread for it.



http://guides.macrumors.com/Help:Forum_Rules#Goals_of_the_Forums

Good news. Because I am so sick and tired of computer shows and forums always including politics into everything. Yes we all know the United States, George Bush and Microsoft are all Nazi's. yeah yeah yeah.

Why not have the Army use the best computers. The U.S military is better run than any other Army in the world. Using Apple computers will help them stay on top.

Sheebahawk
Dec 27, 2007, 07:02 AM
A. The US Army is by historical standards the most professional fighting force ever fielded (except Sparta's hoplites);

Your forgetting the USMC.

The Navy has been using Xserves in subs for a couple years now, they are quiet.

diamond.g
Dec 27, 2007, 08:49 AM
A. The US Army is by historical standards the most professional fighting force ever fielded (except Sparta's hoplites);

Your forgetting the USMC.

The Navy has been using Xserves in subs for a couple years now, they are quiet.
Pfft, the Air Force says hi!

BillHoo
Dec 28, 2007, 02:20 PM
As an Army G6 (IT Dept.) in Iraq, I was wondering why there were so many Mac magazines at the commisaries in Kuwait and Iraq. Then one day, one of my techs asked me to help them out.

On our work counter were 4 white Mac laptops. They were brought in by a customer who needed them configured for our network. Being a reservist who works for an ad agency in my civilian job back home, I was familiar with networking macs. None of the techs had ever seen one.

First I had to see who the customer was to ensure this was authorized. Before they could flash their credentials I knew who they were. Camouflaged uniforms with no rank, no name, no service branch tags. Some of the guys had thick beards and were heavily armed... real secret squirrel types.

Here at the Pentagon, I haven't seen any macs per se, but I'm sure they are around. They show up as Unix boxes on network scans.

Yep. From a computer standpoint, the Macs are the silent service of the military.

PowerPointSamur
Dec 30, 2007, 12:31 AM
I'm in the US Army and have been using Macs (at home) for years. When CAC was mandated for a lot of operations, I got a CAC card reader right after I got my MacBookPro. As some of you might expect, it worked "auto-magically" like everything else with the Mac. I have no idea what the article is talking about with that bit about fixing the problem with the CAC.

I know a fair number of other Mac users in the Army as well. This isn't as new as it sounds because individuals have been using them here and there all along, such as an intel officer in the 3rd Infantry Division in the first round in Iraq. www.army.mil was hosted on a Mac OS classic server for most of the 90s and early 00's. Go to www.netcraft.com/whats and look up www.army.mil now and you will see that the public site is hosted on OS X. I guess the only real new thing about this story is the volume they bought.

PowerPointSamur
Dec 31, 2007, 12:04 AM
Hoplites weren't professional soldiers. Good move on the US Army's part, makes sense to diversify your risk.

The gentleman you are quoting said "Spartans", not "Hoplites". Technically, the Spartans were professionals because it dominated their livelihood and they worked to expand the body of expertise in their profession. Hoplites from other city states (and in general) were usually citizen-soldiers, although later in Greek history (esp. post-Alexander), many Hoplites hired themselves out to many empires and kingdoms far and wide. The term "Hoplites" refers to the shield carried by the soldiers and implies the tactics they employed.