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US-CERT's FUD Print E-mail
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Source: NewsForge - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Security Everywhere you look in the trade press today, you'll find glowing misrepresentations of US-CERT's latest annual summary of vulnerabilities discovered in 2005. If you take the summary findings at face value, you would likely conclude that Windows -- with 812 reported vulnerabilities -- is a much safer operating system than something called "Unix/Linux," which totaled 2,328. The US-CERT summaries have become the fodder for a FUD festival, and many scribes sympathetic to the Microsoft cause go out of their way to make sure the real picture never emerges.

Microsoft wants you to read the headlines as "Windows 3X safer than Linux." (If Microsoft is being quiet about the US-CERT numbers, it's because the company is too busy trying to come up with a fix for the Windows Meta File (WMF) vulnerability.) But even the most cursory examination shows that the two figures are not representative of today's two major operating system platforms.

One figure represents the vulnerabilities found in Windows operating systems: XP, NT, 98, and so on. The other represents a total figure not just for Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, the BSDs, and Linux, but for a hundred different versions of Linux. The sum of all the unique vulnerabilities from all the Linux distros does not equate to the sum of vulnerabilities in any single Linux distro, and one could say the same about the various versions of Windows.

That's why it is a completely meaningless exercise to discuss those totals as if they present an accurate picture of the relative security of Windows and Linux.

Read this full article at NewsForge

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