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Are Microsoft to blame for "hidden" malware costs and will Windows 7 make any difference?

Nov 09, 2009, 14:33 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ryan Cartwright)

[ Thanks to steve hill for this link. ]

"A while later, Ealing Borough Council were hit with a cost of £500000 (about US$ 800k) when they were also hit by a single USB stick containing conficker. Some in the industry tweeted and blogged this as being a "hidden cost of using Microsoft Windows". In the ensuing discussion, many pointed out that the high cost was really due to the lack of a proper patching and disaster recovery policy at the council. So which is right? Is dealing with malware a hidden cost of using Windows or of a poor IT strategy? Putting the holes in the 'net

"Even the most ardent Windows fan can't really argue with the fact that their favourite OS has a significantly greater number of malware threats against it than any free software OS will have. The popular reason given for this is the high proportion of Windows boxes makes for a tempting target for the people behind the malware. This is a reasonable argument but it cannot be taken as the only defence here. If the number of installs is proportional to the number of threats, why have we not seen even a small increase in the number of malware threats against free OS? After all the number of Internet-facing GNU/Linux and *BSD machines around now measures considerably higher than the number for say five years ago. Even allowing for the fact that the percentage of desktop machines using a free OS may not have increased (and I don't believe that's a valid argument anyway), the actual number of machines is likely to have increased. Yet we do not see malware writers increasingly targetting free OS users."

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