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Maybe it's Time to Outlaw MS Windows

A rant about security issues by a multiple-time victim of the unlocked doors in Windows.

by Bob Kerstetter

This rant may be out of date. Some people claim Windows is now very secure. Having moved on, I have little time to verify the claims and no interest. I keep this rant up because it illustrates a structured piece without cited references—other than personal experience. Do not make buying decisions based on this article.

With all the freedoms we are giving up in the name of security, maybe it’s time to let go of Microsoft Windows. Windows, however, is not exactly a freedom. It’s more like a prison. For the past 20 years Microsoft has been the premiere developer of security flawed operating systems and office products. While its products most definitely come feature-rich, the company possesses almost no understanding of how to provide security for computer user. While we are not experts on computer software development we know people who are, and this is how they summarize the situation.

Windows NT—the core technology for Windows 7, Vista and XP—was designed in the 1980′s for business systems running on local area networks (LANs) or wide area networks (WANs) or both. While the Internet existed at the time, no one at Microsoft envisioned it as a worldwide system for everyday use by everyday people. If Windows product managers saw such a vision, surely they would have specified security features for the core of the operating system. But they didn’t. And still haven’t. Instead, Windows tacks on security to its perimeter. Some of its products, Microsoft even calls edge security. In effect, Microsoft sticks locks on thin-glass windows, short gates and sliding screen doors, all of which are easy to defeat. Plus, Windows pushes almost all security decisions out to users. Not being computer security experts, users make lots of mistakes and criminals break in. These dark-side business operators—breaking in really has become a business—install barely noticeable applications on Windows. The programs are designed to quietly steal private financial data, hijack email addresses and launch denial of service attacks against websites.

While the security problem is rooted in human greed, Microsoft Windows is an enabler. Take Windows out of the mix and the Internet becomes a much safer place. Easy break-ins become much less likely. Replace Windows with Linux, whatever Google is creating, and, of course, Unix, which includes Apple’s operating systems. Mix it up. Don’t use operating systems from one vendor. The sameness of Windows over the past 20 years has made breaking in and stealing easy for the developers of viruses and other security scams. Eliminate the insecure sameness caused by Windows and the Internet becomes safer for everyone.

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