Wall St. Journal: Love Bug Prompts Security Experts To Poke At Microsoft’s Weak Points

[ Thanks to Douglas
D. Darnold
for this link. ]

“The world-wide attack of the “love bug” computer virus on May
4, and last week’s less widespread replay, called attention to
security problems in Outlook, Microsoft’s e-mail program. The
outbreaks highlighted the way Outlook can launch potentially
dangerous software programs and spread them to the hundreds or
thousands of other e-mail addresses in a computer’s electronic
address book — with just a single click of a mouse. In the case of
the love bug, all it took was the simple act of opening an e-mail

Microsoft has taken steps to make Outlook more secure, but
many security experts say the fact that the ubiquitous e-mail
system was so vulnerable is evidence of fundamental flaws in many
Microsoft products.
For example, the powerful programming
languages Microsoft includes with its Windows products lack
“fences” that keep out destructive pieces of computer code and
prevent them from hurting a machine. Such fences are a standard
feature in other computer languages intended to be passed around on
the Internet. Microsoft’s consumer-oriented operating systems, such
as Windows 98, also lack security provisions that experts say ought
to be routine in a major piece of software.”

“None of these shortcomings alone are showstopper “bugs” that
could instantly bring down a computer. Instead, they are what
experts describe as flawed approaches to software design that can
lead to big problems down the road — the way the flawed design of
Outlook led to the global love-bug emergency.”


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