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CCIA: Microsoft Software Monoculture A Detriment To Security

CCIA: Microsoft Software Monoculture A Detriment To Security

by , 3:45 PM EDT, September 24th, 2003

Relying on a single technology such as Microsoft Windows to run a majority of systems could threaten US infrastructure and the economy, according to the Computer and Communications Industry Association, as reported by C|Net. The group also warns that planned security updates could also help lock customers in to Microsoft-based systems. Members of the group include AOL, Yahoo, Verizon, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Nortel Networks, among others. The group has fought the Department of Homeland Security's use of Microsoft systems, and formed the Open Source And Industry Alliance to fight the DMCA and promote open-source software. From C|Net:

The paper, written by a handful of security experts, also warns that many security improvements planned by Microsoft are likely designed to raise the barrier that deters customers from switching to another operating system.

"Under the guise of security, (Microsoft is) achieving lock-in," said Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer for network monitoring service Counterpane Internet Security and one of the paper's three authors. "It's using security technologies to extend the monopolies."

The report will be presented Wednesday to several key lawmakers and administration officials at the CCIA's 2003 Washington Caucus, according to the event's agenda. Another of the paper's authors, Dan Geer, chief technology officer for security firm @Stake, is scheduled to lead a discussion of the issues. Several members of Congress are slated to attend the event, including Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

The paper is the latest salvo fired by the CCIA at Microsoft. And although the argument has been made in security circles before, this may be the first time that the position has been outlined to legislators.

You can read the full article at C|Net's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The fact that Microsoft's security is lacking and that reliance on a product with such poor security is dangerous isn't exactly news. However, the more people that hear and learn this information, the better. Every person, company, organization, and government that makes a choice based on what product would be best for them instead of how much free stuff Microsoft offers them is a step in the right direction.

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