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Information Security Magazine: Securing Linux

Feb 14, 2000, 00:38 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pete Loshin)

"Linux is everywhere these days. That cute little penguin stares out at you from almost every Web site, bookstore and computer store; even such office supply superstores as Staples are stocking Linux. Despite this month's release of Windows 2000 (see Roundtable), a recent IDC study shows that Linux commercial shipments will continue to grow at a faster rate than other client/server OSes. This means that more and more of your end-users will be tempted to take it for a test-drive on your private network. Why suffer with Windows and Office, they ask themselves, when they can run Linux and open-source software for nothing? It's cheaper, it's better, it's faster. Or so the advocates claim."

"Who knows? For end-users, Linux may be a better platform than Windows: more robust, more reliable and certainly less expensive. But is Linux more secure? Don't bet your job on it. A fresh Red Hat Linux installation is reasonably secure, but all bets are off once Linux newbies start installing and configuring applications and services that open gaping holes in your organizational infrastructure."

"Linux can be made to be far more secure than Windows desktops, but there are serious security implications to consider as Linux migrates to the mainstream. Whether your users are turning obsolete 386 desktops into print servers, setting up Internet servers with Apache or evaluating operating systems for enterprise-level applications, you?ll need to understand the risks and the remedies for Linux security."

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