New Scientist: Go forth and multiply: Only diversity will protect PCs against future Love Bugs

[ Thanks to Gareth
for this link. ]

Computer security experts have poured scorn on Bill Gates’s
claim that breaking up Microsoft will make it harder to fight
future viruses such as last week’s Love Bug.
What’s needed,
say the experts, is a more diverse range of software on people’s
computers, not a uniform, monopolistic one.”

“Writing in this week’s Time magazine, Gates argues that
products will be less safe if applications such as the Microsoft
Outlook e-mail program had to be developed separately from its
operating system. “Provisions like these would kill innovation in
the Operating System,” Gates wrote. “Updates to Windows and Office
technologies that could, for example, protect against attacks such
as the Love Bug virus would also be much harder for computer users
to obtain.”

“Such statements surprise security experts, who reckon the close
connection between application software and the operating system
compromises security. “A big part of the problem is the tight
integration between Outlook and the operating system,” says Ryan
Russell of the computer security company Security Forum in San
Mateo, California. “I would think that some separation between the
product lines would actually be more secure.”


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