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More on LinuxToday Unix Internet Security: Considering Conventional Wisdom

Mar 27, 2000, 14:31 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ray Yeargin)

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"Unix has an undeserved reputation for poor network security. There is no inherent design defect in Unix that has led to this reputation -- unless providing a rich collection of network services is considered a security defect. Close examination of the superior security claims of proprietary system vendors reveals that they rest upon a dearth of networking services and the infamous "security through obscurity" policy available only to products of limited market penetration. No proprietary operating system compares favorably to Unix when the disparate and widespread usage, along with the rich variety of network services, are taken into account. As other operating systems come to compete with Unix in the Internet server space, the difficulty of providing such services with high levels of security will become ever more obvious."

"That said, there really are significant network security vulnerabilities with virtually every version of this large and complex operating system."

"Unix derives its bad security reputation from four primary sources; its rich variety of network services, the prominance of wide-open academic institutions in Unix antiquity, the extensive Unix documentation available, and, perhaps most important, the traditional practice of shipping Unix with many services automatically enabled by the installation process."

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