what makes windows so vulnerable?

Discussion in 'Community' started by jefhatfield, Jul 18, 2003.

  1. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    microsoft has had issues with hackers and windows xp

    but built on the foundation of windows nt and windows 2000, it is no less secure than before...this isn't windows 98 where you couldn't lock anything down

    are hackers getting better and/or the windows platform just the most visible os to hack?
  2. Roger1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2002
    Here are my theories on it:

    1)MS is the biggest boy in town, so every hacker wants to try and make them look bad.

    2) I'm sure they are more secure, but I bet they don't check every single line of code before selling the product. Thus, some security holes may be left behind.

    3) More security=bigger challenge. Especially since BG sent around that memo last year making security a priority.

    I'm sure I could think of more if I had more time, but I think these are a good start.
  3. MrMacMan macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Because the platform is the most used everything is tested, over and over, and many users see something wrong, or expolitable.

    Also their security ugrades suck so much that most of the time they cause there to be another glitch to happen which will need to be a patched.

    problem: Crash after ___
    Patched: Security patch 1
    Problem: after installation of Patch 1 my system has become MUCH slower
    Patched: Patch 2
    Problem: After installing Patch 2, some software will not load...

  4. tpjunkie macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2002
    It's also because windows is installed on such a large percentage of the computers out there, it makes sense for a hacker to try and break into the most common system . I'm sure if OS X was installed on 85% of the worlds computers, security holes would be found a lot more often than they are...not that I'm saying its anywhere near as bad as windows...:p
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    But isn't osX just a flavor of *NIX? And isn't *NIX installed on a whole lot of computers? Seems like there has been plenty of time to find and exploit flaws there.
  6. evildead macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2001
    WestCost, USA

    Windows has some built-in Inherently flaud features. Application Macros that can control the OS with Administrator Privleges?? what up with that!
  7. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    Yeah, the fact that Windows is more prevalent has a little to do with it, but not as much as you'd think. Unix has been around forever, and there are problems and holes, but even if Windows was only on 5% of computers, there would still be issues with it. Although the makers might be more inclined to fix them.

    OS X could be on 95% of computers, it's still more secure.

    So what makes Windows so insecure? Micro$oft.
  8. MacManDan macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2003
    There is. That's why we get security updates occasionally, they're found by third party companies and such that LOOK for such problems. But I believe *nix is so reliable, and has had so many revisions and security updates, that OS X has inherited a great deal of that and little needs to be done at this time. Apple did a good job of keeping *nix's reliability, stability, and security.
  9. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    Don't forget that Windows has functions built into the OS that are designed to run upgrades that will not ask the user for permission (rolling IE into the OS really added to this as well). Layer Outlook and the VB scripting commonality across Office apps, and you have and easy conduit to hacking.

    At least Macs ask you if you want to do certain things, and 'silos' the apps, insulating each from the other - even the iApps.

    Then you thow the fact the MS makes such a large and tempting target, well...
  10. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    Re: what makes windows so vulnerable?

    But NT was hardly what I'd call secure. L0pht made a business of expoliting its vulns; their advice to people with NT security problems was not to use NT.
  11. BaghdadBob macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2003
    Gorgeous, WA
    I believe that it has a lot to do with the way Windows came up from DOS. basically, as we all know, it was code stacked on code stacked on code stacked on code.

    So every time they wanted to add something new and modern, they were stacking it on top of legacy technology.

    Imagine taking your '78 Corvette, adding a bunch of bolt-on components, and then trying to run the Daytona 500. It doesn't matter if you're fast enough, if you didn't build it from the ground-up to do what you're trying to get it to do, it's probably going to blow up.

    See plug-n-play technology.

    Also, as we all know, most developers found it more difficult to write apps for the old Mac OS, but anybody with enough time on their hands could get Windows to do what they wanted it to do....hmmm...facilitating virus-like activity? Nah...
  12. hvfsl macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    I know the problem is not the programmers, since the QNX programmers work on win NT/2000/XP and QNX was the most stable OS of all time. I expect it is M$ management that take too much control over the windows projects and don't let the programmers find better ways to do things.
  13. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    IMHO, it's mostly design decisions. Unix has a long-standing tradition of e.g. separation of GUI from OS. That affects performance and ease of use, but increases security. There are a couple examples where Microsoft had to include hacks to make Windows faster/easier to use which resulted in security problems (NT device drivers running in Ring 0, NT file permissions being too lax or else using it as non-admin would have been much more cumbersome, automatic opening of attachments in Outlook, integrating of IE into OS, ActiveX, File sharing over PPP connections, ...).

    Mac OS X inherited e.g. BSD's TCP/IP implementation, which is known to be one of the best in the industry. Using open-source severs like Apache, Samba or CUPS help to keep security issues down.

    Of course, Apple can still introduce security problems into Mac OS X, but at least the foundation they chose solves a lot of common security issues already.
  14. idea_hamster macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2003
    NYC, or thereabouts
    I've often wondered if there is a basic difference between people who try to hack in *nix and those who hack in end-user os's.

    The people who try to hack into servers, main-frames, and the like seem (to an outsider like me) to be looking to (1) prove they can get in, (2) look around, (3) prove that they were there, e.g., by defacing a web site, and at the most egregious end of the scale (4) steal data (like from the gov.) or change data (like at CitiBank).

    But the people who seem to hack around in user systems, like windows, seem to want to actually do some sort of damage -- destroy information that only the user wants, slow the computer down, or somehow else ruin the user's computing experience.

    These don't seem like the same goals to me.

    If *nix-based operating systems become more common on the desktop, we might see the *nix-targeted attacks get more destructive. But I also think that there's much more money tied up in making sure that *nix-based systems work securely.

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