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March 8th, 1997

    How to Succeed in Internet Security Without Even Trying
    March 8, 1997

by: Jon Bodner (jbodner@webintosh.com)

The Internet news over the last few weeks has focused on the dangers of the latest technologies: security holes in ActiveX, Sun's Java Virtual Machine, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer for Windows. A few days ago, NASA had one of its WWW servers hacked by a loon with a political manifesto (what possible political statement can you make against NASA? some people need to select their targets better). In the same day two weeks ago, both Apple and Microsoft had their WWW pages hacked (the Apple server that was hacked was a UNIX machine, not a Mac).

No Mac WWW server has ever been hacked.

None.

Why isn't Apple making a big deal of this?

You would think that even the worst marketer in the world could figure out that people are interested in making their computer systems safe. The MacOS has several excellent WWW server packages, yet is still the most inherently secure platform available. In fact, there is currently a contest offering a $10,000 prize to anyone who can crack a Mac WWW server in Sweden (http://hacke.infinit.se/indexeng.html). Like similar contests in the past, no one has claimed the prize, and no one will.

Unfortunately, none of this offered money is coming from Apple. It's time for Apple to put its money where its mouth is. The newly-agressive marketing team should start taking out full-page ads in business newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, offering a warranty on any of its servers. If any properly configured Mac server is hacked, Apple will not only refund the purchase price of the server, but it will pay the cost to fix whatever damage is done. The ball will then be in Microsoft and Sun's court. Would they make similar claims? I doubt it. Neither company produces a secure product.

If Apple wants to get corporate and government clients, the company needs to start talking their language. Apple says Macs are fast and cheap. Companies already have lots of fast, cheap machines. What they don't have are secure machines which can be used for Internet and intranet work. This is one hole which is just dying to be plugged.



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