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Microsoft Responds to Google's Security Rejection

Microsoft Responds to Google's Security Rejection

Jason Mick

June 02, 2010

Yesterday we contacted Microsoft seeking comment on the news that Google was dumping Windows at its headquarters due to “security concerns” and instead offering employees a choice between only a Mac or a Linux system.  The official response we received was that there was no response — Microsoft wasn’t yet commenting on the news.

This morning, Windows Team member Brandon LeBlanc did at last issue an official response from Microsoft.  In the blog response, he sounded quite offended and called out Apple and Google on their own security track records, while defending Microsoft.

On Apple he writes:

Macs are under attack by high-risk malware… Microsoft makes the security of our customers a huge priority.

And on Google he writes:

There is some irony here that is hard to overlook. For starters, check out this story from Mashable a few months ago where it was reported that Yale University had halted their move to Gmail (and their move to Google’s Google Apps for Education package) citing both security and privacy concerns.

He follows that up with a long list of links to steps Microsoft is taking to buff up its own security including Windows firewall, encryption improvements; Windows Update security fixes; parental controls; filters; and Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) memory protections found in Windows 7.

Ultimately LeBlanc raises some good points — Windows 7 is much more secure thanks largely to Microsoft’s actions.  Its memory protection technologies, free firewall, and free antivirus/antimalware software have tremendously improved PC security.

That said, Google’s OS of choice — Linux (the basis of the upcoming Google Chrome OS) — and Apple’s Mac OS X ultimately remain more secure at the present due to obscurity.  Apple hacker Charlie Miller once likened Windows to a house with bars on it in the worse part of town, while OS X was like a house with no locks in the countryside.  The comparison is remarkably apt.

As long as Windows enjoys a healthy lead, it will also be the highest profile target.  And there will be 
some attackers with enough cleverness and skills to break through even the toughest protections.  But it is not simple enough to say that Google made the right choice (improved security) for the wrong reasons (arguing Windows is inherently less secure).  Because in giving up Windows, Google is sacrificing a great deal of functionality and software that simply is not currently available for OS X or Linux distributions

_© 2009, DailyTech.

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