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RE: About Operating Systems security
From: "Burton M. Strauss III" <BStrauss () acm org>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 09:26:23 -0500

It may be more secure, then again it may not.  It could just be that there
are more used of certain proprietary OSes, so more people attempting to
break in, finding more flaws.

I think if you read the studies with an open mind (instead of the
pre-conceived notion you seem to have), the data isn't all that clear.

"Prove nobody has ever broken into a (properly configured) xyz".

You can't prove a negative.  So your proof, that open source is the highest
security, is flawed.

The 'many eyes' theory is only valid IF people actually do review the code.
Given recent events, such as the sendmail flaw that's been there for many,
many years (since 1988 IIRC), it's clearly NOT true, even for the most used
programs.

Once you get away from the top 10 or 20 or 100 applications and servers,
into stuff written by one or two individuals and maintained by them for many
years, with a few 100s or 1000s of (non-hostile) users, all bets are off.


-----Burton


-----Original Message-----
From: yannick'san [mailto:yannicksan () free fr]
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 1:55 PM
To: security-basics () securityfocus com
Subject: About Operating Systems security


Hello everybody,

First of all, I know the subject I'm going to talk about has largely been
discussed everywhere but, up today, the main problem I have is that I can't
really find the right Documentation I'm looking for and as much as I read
reports, the task become harder to do. So, now, I ask for some helps to the
list...
Ok, here I start. Considering the following fonctionnalities installed and
the same machine and nothing more :
(a) a firewall
(b) a web server
(c) a database
I have already prouved that the security level will be the highest if I use
OpenSources for (a,b,c), and for reaching that point, not only the security
process and procedures has already been written (Process and procedures for
regularly auditing the fonctionnalities installed and also for dealing with
a recovery plan, for exemple) but also the code and reviews that could be
done or have been done.
But as (a,b,c) is supported by an OS, the hardest problem I have is how to
introduce a new one in a companie - Probably I should have started to think
about that before...- How to prove that the OS choosen for only supporting
the fonctionalities ennonced before, will be the most secured OS between
all. How to prove that it in front of directors, managers and Engineers.

Any pointers, news or documents are welcome and I'll keep everybody informed
on the result :)

-Yannick


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