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More Mac Vulnerabilities Than Windows In 2007? 329

Posted by Zonk
from the dogs-and-cats-living-together-mass-hysteria dept.
eldavojohn writes "A ZDNet blog reports stats from Secunia showing OSX averaged 20.25 vulnerabilities per month while XP & Vista combined averaged 3.67/month. Is this report card's implication accurate, or is this a symptom of one company turning a blind eye while the other concentrates on timely bugfixes? 'While Windows Vista shows fewer flaws than Windows XP and has more mitigating factors against exploitation, the addition of Windows Defender and Sidebar added 4 highly critical flaws to Vista that weren't present in Windows XP. Sidebar accounted for three of those additional vulnerabilities and it's something I am glad I don't use. The lone Defender critical vulnerability that was supposed to defend Windows Vista was ironically the first critical vulnerability for Windows Vista.'"
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More Mac Vulnerabilities Than Windows In 2007?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:26PM (#21741368)
    They're just looking for excuses to downplay the results of the report.
  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:28PM (#21741390) Homepage
    How many times does it have to be repeated? Counting vulnerabilities is a stupid way to measure security. [com.com] Counting vulnerabilities is a stupid way to measure security. [iss.net] Counting vulnerabilities is a stupid way to measure security. [lwn.net]

    Shouldn't Slashdot link to some more insightful analysis?
    • by slazzy (864185) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:33PM (#21741480) Homepage
      This just goes to show, nothing,not even exploits run on Vista...
    • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:57PM (#21741800) Journal

      Absolutely. Vulnerability counts are worthless. Here's the simplest example I can think of:

      My friend and I both maintain a tool of some sort. We both get ten security vulnerability reports sent to us each year. I patch ten security bugs ten minutes after they are reported and my friend sits on the first ten bugs for a year, then the next year, we both fix ten vulnerabilities in the second year. However, for a user that keeps their system patched, I have an average of slightly over zero exposed vulnerabilities, while my friend's software exposes slightly over ten. According to the vulnerability count, however, I had 20 and my friend had 10.

      • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:25PM (#21742242) Journal
        Another issue would be severity.

        1) Your friends flaws only allowed an administrator of the systm, on the local system to accidentally delete (but not read or otherwise modify) secur data of the users.
        2) Your flaws allowed anyone to connect to the machine remotely and read/write/modify all of the secure data on the server.

        Which is worse? It's severity and time of exposure. MacOS X didn't have any extremely critical vulnerabilities, but Windows had four, MacOS X had a lot more highly critical, and slightly more moderately/less critical. This makes the vulnerability count look even less meainingful (if every level counts 100x more than the previous level in terms of overall risk, and the average fix time was the same, Windows would be more vulnerable than MacOS X, even with only 15% the bug count.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nschubach (922175)
        You forgot another aspect as well. What if your friend sits on the problems, but doesn't report then as vulnerabilities, but instead reports them as bugs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          Right. Well, that's another example of the more general point I was alluding to, which is that the only vulnerabilities we know about are those that have either been disclosed by the company or disclosed by somebody who got pissed off waiting for the company to fix the bugs. The result is that vulnerability counts can be severely underreported, and you are at the mercy of the company's honesty and competence at deciding which bugs are security bugs when you try to determine how accurate your vulnerability

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ed Avis (5917)
        It depends what you mean by an 'exposed vulnerability'. There is often a mindset that until a vulnerability is publicly disclosed, it cannot be exploited, and so it is the act of disclosure that creates security risks, rather than the act of writing the buggy code in the first place. If you are counting 'exposed vulnerabilities' you need to count exposure time from the date the vulnerable code was released to the date it was withdrawn or patched - not just counting from some arbitrary public disclosure da
    • by stonertom (831884)

      How many times does it have to be repeated? Counting vulnerabilities is a stupid way to measure security.

      Aside from this TFA says: Windows 44 / MacOS 243. When I looked on Secunia it says 30 for Windows and 26 for MacOS. When I looked at some of the mentioned reports LOADS are "reserved" (I'll list some at the end). If counting is worthless how good is counting incorrectly?

      CVE-2007-5850 H
      CVE-2007-5851 H
      CVE-2007-5853 H
      CVE-2007-5854 H
      CVE-2007-5855 H
      CVE-2007-5856 H
      CVE-2007-5857 H
      CVE-2007-5859 H
      CVE-2007-5860 H
      CVE-2007-5861 H
      CVE-2007-5863 H
      CVE-2007-6077 H

  • It's all academic. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phoebusQ (539940) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:31PM (#21741450)
    No artificial metric really matters in the security landscape.

    In the end, what matters is the real-world security performance of these systems. Sure, it's not so easy to quantify and measure, but stories like this ZDNet fodder are just pageview generators, and nothing more.
    • by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:51PM (#21742712)
      No artificial metric really matters in the security landscape.

      One thousand exploits that allow someone to wipe a users home directory is nothing compared to single exploit that allows an unauthorized person to gain root access to the machine remotely.
  • but I'd hate for MacNN to get any ad revenue or new, regular visitors from the traffic this will generate.

    I posted my retort on this just before the /. post : http://www.rudis.net/content/2007/12/18/macnn-editors-egg-nog-consumption-increases-disastrous-results [rudis.net]

    I wish non-security folks would stop reporting on security "stuff"... I can't wait for NPR, CNN and Fox to run with this "breaking news!" tonight or tomorrow.
  • by junglee_iitk (651040) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:32PM (#21741476)
    Who has counted the bugs and security holes that were fixed without prior disclosure? It is like counting footsteps of two dinosaurs from their fossils and then comparing them for their health.
  • flamebait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ryujiwarui (1205010)
    this whole article should be modded flamebait, counting vulnerabilities is a useless way to compare operating systems
  • Not really objective (Score:4, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:35PM (#21741502)
    First, reporting on the number of flaws disclosed and fixed says nothing about the relative security of either platform. Both MS and Apple could be holding back on patches to their own software. Second, many of Apple's security patches address 3rd party open source software like Samba, Kerberos, etc, that are being patched when flaws are discovered.
  • Nonsense (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cally (10873) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:35PM (#21741504) Homepage
    I'm absolutely not an Apple fanboi but this is bollocks. Apple (who are indeed significantly slowerthan other distributors in releasing patches) ship an awful lot of Free software - application software that is - with OS X, whilst Microsoft generally only patch the core OS (and Office, if you go to https://microsoftupdate.com/ [microsoftupdate.com] rather than https://windowsupdate.com/ [windowsupdate.com] .) Hmmm, one day I must get round to doing that chart tracking who, of the main distros shipping common code such as (say) Zlib, releases what patches, when. Some of the Linux distys are particularly lax on this front.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Joe U (443617)
      If it ships with the OS it should be patched by the OS company. If Apple shipped something with a flaw, Apple gets to patch it. Same for Microsoft.
      • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:45PM (#21742586)

        If it ships with the OS it should be patched by the OS company. If Apple shipped something with a flaw, Apple gets to patch it. Same for Microsoft.

        Agreed, although not all the "vulnerabilities" listed in this so-called study do ship from Apple, many are third-party applications that just run on OS X. Also, OS X includes a lot of cool tools with their OS, because they are free. 99.99% of the time, these tools are never used, let alone exposed to the outside world. For example, almost a third of the first 30 CVE's listed in this study apply to the same Perl, regular expression evaluator. Now how many users do you suppose turn on Apache and this module and make use of it on a Web page they're hosting from their home computer? I mean these tools are great for Web developers that want to test stuff on their workstation, but that is likely about all they are used for, in the very rare cases that they are used. That particular module accounts for 8 of the "vulnerabilities" in OS X listed.

        It is fine to list these as vulnerabilities, but for a comparison to vulnerabilities in Windows, well they're pretty useless because of the use case as well as the dozens of other things wrong with this study. I mean, the OSS team developing this module lists each and every potential hole they an find on a public Website and it is counted by Secunia. Their list for MS includes only holes that have been discovered by the public and which MS has acknowledged. Since MS does not publish most of the bugs they find, none of those are counted against MS, including the ones they don't bother to fix (more than 50% according to an ex-MS developer I know).

        Secunia knows this. Every respectable security expert knows this. The only problem is, random bloggers don't seem to know this, and write "articles" about it which get widespread readership, misinforming large numbers of people and leading them to make incorrect decisions that end up causing problems for everyone.

  • by Tom (822) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:37PM (#21741530) Homepage Journal
    Ah, the usual "X has more Y than Z, so it must be better" strawman. With all the usual flaws. Didn't we have this discussion at least 50 times already?

    So let me see, we will have:
    • The windos fanboys drooling "told you so"
    • The Mac fanboys screaming "it ain't so"
    • The math fanboys going on about how you should trust statistics unless you've forged them yourself
    • The nitpicker faction revealing that they are comparing different kinds of bugs
    • The wannabe-blackhatters outlining that these vulnerabilities were more vulnerable than those vulnerabilities and should count more
    • The I-read-the-web-all-day group pointing out a contradicting article in some other magazine
    • The tinfoil-hat wearers telling us that it's all bullshit anyways and the article is only meant to get us upset and create ad impressions
    • The meta-commentators who point out that we've already been through all this and do we really need to re-hash this discussion again? :-)
    • by BarryJacobsen (526926) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:44PM (#21741644) Homepage

      Ah, the usual "X has more Y than Z, so it must be better" strawman. With all the usual flaws. Didn't we have this discussion at least 50 times already?

      So let me see, we will have:
      • The windos fanboys drooling "told you so"
      • The Mac fanboys screaming "it ain't so"
      • The math fanboys going on about how you should trust statistics unless you've forged them yourself
      • The nitpicker faction revealing that they are comparing different kinds of bugs
      • The wannabe-blackhatters outlining that these vulnerabilities were more vulnerable than those vulnerabilities and should count more
      • The I-read-the-web-all-day group pointing out a contradicting article in some other magazine
      • The tinfoil-hat wearers telling us that it's all bullshit anyways and the article is only meant to get us upset and create ad impressions
      • The meta-commentators who point out that we've already been through all this and do we really need to re-hash this discussion again? :-)
      You seem to have forgotten two:
      • The list makers who will show everyone (using a list) exactly what will appear in the comments.
      • The annoying jerks who point out things the list makers missed.
    • by john83 (923470)

      Didn't we have this discussion at least 50 times already?
      Yes. I'm going home. It's dinnertime where I'm from.
  • Yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JimDaGeek (983925) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:39PM (#21741568)
    I own two Intel Macs, an iMac and a Macbook. I own two desktops that run XP and two desktops that run Linux.

    I am personally tired of the stupid "insecure" talk. My iMac runs my servers with ports 80, 443, 22, 5900 open. I watch my logs and have not seen any bad stuff.

    On the other hand, I once opened my XP boxes IIS server and saw a crap load of hits in the web logs trying to break it within 48 hours. Thankfully I was running IIS lockdown which really helps.

    Comparing XP in 2007 to OS X 10.4 or 10.5 is just stupid. XP has been around for a long, long time. Do a fresh install of XP home SP0 and see how many security updates you need to download.

    As a programmer with more than a decade of experience, I don't care about the number of releases for an OS. I care about the timely releases. From my experience, Apple and especially Linux will release a fix as soon as they have it. MS on the other hand seems to go through a PR machine.

    Microsoft, I don't care if your product XYZ has a flaw, trust me as a programmer, there will always be flaws. Just release the damn info on the flaw and the URL to the fix. I don't think XP is "crap" because I have had to download more than a GB of updates since SP0. Really, I don't care. As a geek, I actually get excited about a new update from MS. I usually hope for new features, etc.

    So, please MS, just publish and release the fixes. 95%+ of people out there don't care if you have 150 "vulnerabilities" or 20. We just want the fix. Give us our "fix" bro!
    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:00PM (#21741852) Homepage

      I don't get it. You opened port 80 on different machines, and saw different traffic, none of which managed to exploit the web server.

      I'm sceptical this tells us much about anything, beyond maybe the set up of your NAT/DMZ. Otherwise you should have received exactly the same traffic on both web servers. Bots don't check the OS before sending their exploitable GET requests.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      True you can't compare a new OS to an old OS. Vista to OS 10.4 or 10.5 should be reasonibly fair. As people have already said there is a bunch of open source stuff in the OS that Apple doesn't control, however, they chose to include it in their product so IMHO they own the bugs (if you don't like it then code your own functionality, or let the end user download it).

      Microsoft has come up with the idea of "Patch Tuesday" to control the update process. While your systems might be vulnerable for an extra few

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:39PM (#21742502)

      I am personally tired of the stupid "insecure" talk. My iMac runs my servers with ports 80, 443, 22, 5900 open. I watch my logs and have not seen any bad stuff.


      This kind of cavalier attitude is what gets people hacked. Clearly you aren't watching your logs very carefully (or you're blocking those ports externally with some kind of firewall), because anyone who runs an SSH server (which is presumably what you're doing on port 22) knows that you get TONS of dictionary attacks. Before I disabled password authentication (and switched to using key-based authentication exclusively), I would sometimes get 20-30MiB of logs, all failed PAM logins with common usernames and from a variety of hosts. Clearly I'm not alone [google.com] either.

      As a programmer with more than a decade of experience, I don't care about the number of releases for an OS. I care about the timely releases. From my experience, Apple and especially Linux will release a fix as soon as they have it.


      From your experience? How do you even know when Apple has a fix? How do you know when the vulnerability has been reported? Are you basing this opinion on fact, or is it your "feel" that Apple is better than Microsoft about this?

      Microsoft releases most patches during the Tuesday release cycle.

      As someone who works in IT, I can tell you that we don't want patches released "as soon as they are ready". Patches need to be tested, and they need to be tested with other patches. You may not think that Apple patches cause issues, and usually they don't - but even one incompatibility could result in thousands of our users being down for hours or even days. 1000 employees being down costs us $1000000 per day. That's a damn big incentive to get it right.

      With the Tuesday cycle, we can test ALL of the critical patches at once, together (about 2 weeks of both automated and manual testing). Then we can roll them ALL out to a pioneer group for a week, and see if any problems arise. If they don't, everyone gets the patch on the 4th week - and the process restarts. Our IT department has people dedicated to doing this cycle.

      Guess what? We use the same Tuesday cycle for Mac and Linux patches. So what does Apple's "when it's ready" release process buy us? More time for the script kiddies to reverse-engineer the patch and exploit the vulnerability.

      Comparing XP in 2007 to OS X 10.4 or 10.5 is just stupid


      Agreed. Why don't we compare something like Windows Vista? Oh, wait, they did. Vista has fewer reported vulnerabilities than XP now, and far fewer than XP had in its first year of release. Not to mention far, far fewer than Mac OS X.

      So, what does this mean? Do these numbers mean that Vista is more secure than Mac OS? No. The number of vulnerabilities is a poor measure for how secure an operating system is.

      What it does mean, though, is that all is not well in Wonderland. Security is a process, and that process needs to be well-developed regardless of the software used. Mac OS X is not a silver bullet. Neither is Linux.
    • by db32 (862117)
      In their world remote code execution seems like it should be considered a feature. I can't imagine why they would ship so many of their products with that feature and then patch to "fix" it.
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      I would greatly prefer if patches DIDNT include any new features.
      They should only fix the vulnerability in question, and nothing else. Adding new features brings potentially new vulnerabilities, and could cause other problems which may delay or stop people deploying the patch.
  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:42PM (#21741610) Journal
    The simple number of vulnerabilities is not a good metric of security. I seem to remember that one of the Windows ones last year was one where displaying a picture in a web browser, ANY web browser, could compromise your machine. I don't remember seeing close to that severe for a Mac.

    In fact you could make the argument the other way around: the reason there are so few fixes with Windows is because the problems are so big and far reaching that it takes a lot longer to patch them. This conclusion is also probably wrong but is just as valid as the one in the original post.
  • by kaoshin (110328) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:45PM (#21741664)
    I invented my own OS, which I call F.U. (Frackin Unix). My OS has only one bug (Bug #1 - Operating System Not found). Clearly my OS is more superior than any competitors due to its extremely low number of bug reports.
    • Likewise I am still waiting for the first OS/2 exploit. Crossing my fingers it will be soon. Then on to infect my TRS-80, and my old Atari 800.
  • by TheSkyIsPurple (901118) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:46PM (#21741672)
    He shows CVE-2007-3896 only in July, but it was reissued in November as well... why wasn't that counted in November?

    The July patch closed that CVE, and the November patched more of it... It should count both times, since they said it was closed.

    I'd be interested to analyze them all next to each other, but not interested enough to actually dig into it myself =-)
  • So when people acknowledge bugs and fix them, the windows crowd bashes them?? So we should all be like Microsoft and just say that something isn't a bug until something critical happens and THEN issue a patch? Or wait until consumers are so pissed about it that it requires the company to issue a patch?

    Frankly, I would LIKE a product to ship flawless but realize I dont live in a fantasy world so prefer them to fix their flaws in a timely fashion as they find them and am happy that the Mac, Linux and BSD co

  • In other news.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Selfbain (624722) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:54PM (#21741764)
    Bush is the best President in history because he has fixed fewer problems.
  • Several problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:02PM (#21741890) Homepage Journal
    First, most announcement services won't/can't announce until the vendor approves. If Microsoft doesn't approve any announcements, then they will always be "perfect" by counting announced flaws. Second, the exploitability of a flaw matters. A hundred flaws that could never actually leave a system vulnerable in practice would obviously be superior to even one single flaw that leaves a system wide open to attack. Third, not all announcement services will cover all reported flaws. There are too many OS' and too many bugs being discovered to report everything. As a result, there is bound to be some degree of cherry-picking. It's not to say anything bad about any given service, it's just a consequence of the volumes involved. Lastly, there is the quality of the bugfixes. I can't remember the last time anyone actually recommended the first Microsoft service pack for an OS, although that's by no means unique to them.

    In the end, it is impossible to analyze the security of software by means of analyzing second-hand or third-hand reports, and extremely difficult to do so by means of black-box testing by means of probably incomplete documentation. However, I cannot seriously imagine Apple or Microsoft conducting a thorough security audit and software analysis. For that matter, I don't believe either could afford to do so. Microsoft may be rich, but Vista is big and the kind of skills required to conduct a comprehensive audit wouldn't come cheap, certainly not in the volume needed to conduct such an audit fast enough to get the results before software changes invalidated said audit.

    (Having said that, given that the world economy is so utterly dependent on the reliability of the IT infrastructure these days, there is also the question of how long it will be before it is uneconomic at a global level for there not to be such an audit. If an audit would cost a trillion dollars over the course of a year, then it only requires the total direct and indirect cost to business and government over the entire globe from such flaws to be a trillion and one dollars over the course of a year for it to be worth it almost instantly. However, the costs of flaws will always add up with interest but a single audit might easily be sufficient for the lifetime of an OS, if it's good enough. Given a long enough shelf-life and a high enough interest rate, how unreliable can we afford to have any software these days?)

  • bash microsoft all you want however their new SDL is really making a difference in securing their products. of course they will continue to have issues it won't remove all the issues, however it has reduced their bug count big time. Take IIS 5/6/7 as a great example of how their process is making a difference. Bash away MS bashing zealots.
    • Wow, Microsoft uses SDL [libsdl.org] in their products?

      Does this mean we'll be seeing IIS on Linux or OSX soon?
      • by mrkitty (584915)
        Glad you know how to use google. If you scroll down a little bit it clearly states on the microsoft URL 'Security Development Lifecycle'.
  • Broken study? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:10PM (#21742034) Homepage

    I clicked through a bunch of the vulnerabilities, and a lot of them are marked as reserved for future use. What's up with that? I think whatever script the dude used to compile this table, didn't work - either that or I don't understand the CVE process being used, because I don't see any indication of which systems are affected by them.

    Anyway. Such a study is ultimately pointless, we already know that MacOS X and Windows are both seriously insecure. A single vulnerability in the tangled morass of code making up modern web browsers is typically enough to compromise the entire machine (Vista being an exception to this). A single vulnerability in *any* app which talks over the network is usually enough to get your code onto the machine, and from there you have free reign to do more or less whatever you want. Requiring root is no panacea, you don't need root to do the things modern malware wants to do anyway. As that's the entire OS X desktop security system right there, we can surmise that the primary advantage it has security-wise is just obscurity. (yeah, i know 10.5 is supposed to have MAC for some basic daemons etc .... wake me up when it is properly and widely applied to desktop apps).

  • What a joke! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:12PM (#21742050)

    So I took a look at a few sample vulnerabilities and it leaves me Flabbergasted. The person who wrote this article and composed the data should be beaten. The ones listed as OS X vulnerabilities are primarily holes in software that runs on OS X, much of which does not even ship with OS X by default. A lot of it is holes in various Web server modules, some of which do ship with OS X, but are disabled by default. Some of them are NOT EVEN VULNERABILITIES... like CVE-2007-3876 which is a number reserved for use by an organization for the next time they report a vulnerability, but they haven't assigned it to anything yet. Whole ranges of numbers listed are like that. I mean did the author even click on the links he's providing? I tried, I was more than twenty items into the list of "highly critical OS X vulnerabilities" before I found one that actually affected a default install of OS X, and it was a potential denial of service for SSL Web sites if you have a machine in the middle. Of the first 30, 12 were reserved for future use and not real vulnerabilities, 7 were holes in the same Perl library, and 5 were holes in tcpdump. Only one was a real, hole that could be exploited on a default install without additional software being added, or it being reconfigured as Web server or something.

    Another question is, for the real vulnerabilities to the OS's, how do they decide what the danger level is for a vulnerability? For example, one low rated one for WinXP (CVE-2007-2228) was a possible remote exploit, whereas a Highly cCritical one for OS X (CVE-2007-0267) was a denial of service on a machine, requiring a local user account. Does this make any sense to anyone?

    I'm all for pointing out security problems in OS X and other OS's and doing comparisons of relative security, but this is just a sad joke. Please, can we at least get articles by someone with the tiniest bit of a clue instead of the number game from someone who might be able to count, but apparently can't be bothered to read his subject matter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jason Levine (196982)
      The quote on the bottom of the page seems oddly appropriate.

      Weinberg's Principle: An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by moshennik (826059)
      I was actually going to comment about the same.. i do have a few additional comments. - Some of the listed issues don't even apply to MacOS when you look into description.. just start from the top * CVE-2007-1218 * CVE-2007-1661 and at least 10 out of 20 or so that i checked. Others have several references to the same issue. A number is for third party products (openssl, etc). However packaged MSFT products are not included.. as far as i can see there are 123 advisories for IE 6.x http://secunia.com/produ [secunia.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pavera (320634)
      The very first one on the list for Dec is a whole in Adobe Flash Player, and on the page it lists an MS security advisory for the bug which says windows is vulnerable, AND its still not included in the count for MS bugs... Joke indeed
  • I know that OS X is more secure, because I use it every day, and I can rely on it. I am a Mac fan boy, but only because Windows continued to let me down.
    • i used osx recently on a final cut edit station and my head blew up. Its an ok OS, but theres a lot of stupid in there :)
  • OSX has lots of open source commands and daemons. It will be subject to more patches.

    The fact there are more security holes being patches can also indicate there's more pro-active review.
  • George Ou.
  • Ya but. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Halmos (464196)
    I haven't used virus/"vulnerability" software on my Mac since OS 7. Still don't in OS X Leopard. All's well.
  • So I put the question to the crowd then...

    Is Windows inherently more insecure than OSX for example?

    True, you can say "security holes fixed != number of security holes", but then to even be equal on the score cards, Windows, as entire eco-system (Vista + XP) would still need 5 times more the number of vulnerabilities.

    I put it to you my techie friends, Windows security isn't so bad after all and has evolved from non-existent to at least on the same footing with it's rivals (that's to say, I agree that I don't
  • by subl33t (739983) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:35PM (#21742432)
    ... until there is a self-replicating Mac virus in the wild.
  • by Onan (25162) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @02:46PM (#21742616)
    Ever since they showed up a few years ago, Secunia seems to have been nothing but a pro-Windows, anti-everything-else trolling group. They've published countless "studies" claiming that Windows is more secure than god, every one of which involves some extremely skewed definitions of what constitutes a vulnerability and how one classifies its severity.

    Some glorious day, perhaps slashdot will learn to ignore this variety of trolling (I'm looking at you, Cringely and Dvorak.). But until then, we'll all just need to ignore them individually.

  • It was pointed out in one of the responses [zdnet.com] that the writer of the article did exactly what Secunia advised people not to do. From Secunia's Mac OS X vulnerability report [secunia.com]:

    The statistics provided should NOT be used to compare the overall security of products against one another.

    So it seems there are three reasonable conclusions to draw here. The first is that the author is incompetent and should be disregarded. The second is that the author is dishonest and manipulative and should be disregarded. The th

  • by pikine (771084) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @03:11PM (#21743036) Journal

    Mac OS X contains many third-party open source software packages. The bugs are found through source code auditing. These bugs may or may not become exploitable depends on how the code is used.

    Just take a quick look at the bugs list. Most of them are found in third-party code like PCRE library. These are labeled "highly critical" without a demonstrable proof that it can be exploited. The software using PCRE is vulnerable to malformed regular expression strings, but I've never seen any software accepting arbitrary regular expression strings from another machine. (A web browser interprets JavaScript code from another machine, which may contain regular expressions, but JavaScript regular expression definitely isn't Perl compatible, so that's not PCRE.) Those same bugs also affect Linux. If you use Cygwin on Windows, these bugs also affect you, so they can be Windows bugs too.

    On the other hand, since we can't audit proprietary Windows code, we only find bugs that are actually exploitable, in contrast to the open source bugs that are only potentially exploitable. Therefore, the severity of Windows bugs are vastly underrated compared to open source bugs. And there are more potentially exploitable bugs in Windows that we don't find, which aren't being counted.

    That said, if you rely on bug counts and decide that Windows is more secure for you, I'd call you crazy.

    Finally, why would Adobe Flash player bugs be counted as a Mac OS X bug?

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