crossd at gmail
Jun 10, 2012, 7:41 PM
Post #140 of 143
On Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 8:17 PM, Christian Sciberras <uuf6429 [at] gmail> wrote:
Re: Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran
[In reply to]
> All this talk about a lot of arguments to syscalls reminded me of
> `ls`....and that's just the beginning..
'ls' is a user program, not a system call; system calls are entry
points into the operating system itself: basically little passage ways
into the kernel. Having many them opens up the surface area for bugs.
The Linux people seem to be making great strides in, ahem, 'catching
up' to Microsoft in this area, but comparing the number of options to
a non-privileged user-level program to the number of system calls in
the win32 or win64 API isn't very useful.
> Let's be honest, no matter the amount of "standardization" (or plain
> "planning") you put in, there's always room for complications.
I totally agree. The question is do you want to use the system that
allows you to be complex, or the one that forces you to be?
> In what I've seen, the only exception here, is a dozen or so small hobbyist
For general purpose computing, this unfortunately seems to be more or
less true. It's a sad state of affairs.
- Dan C.
> On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 1:58 AM, Dan Cross <crossd [at] gmail> wrote:
>> On Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 7:22 PM, Benjamin Kreuter <ben.kreuter [at] gmail>
>> >> I am a bit surprised by the direction of this conversation and I have
>> >> been waiting for someone to say the obvious in regards to protecting
>> >> yourself from .gov malware, it really is quite simple if you think
>> >> about it. Stuxnet, duqu, flame, ect.. all only run on windows
>> >> platforms. If the people you are protecting are concerned about that
>> >> kind of malware (and they should be) it would be a great time to tell
>> >> them about GNU/Linux, BSD, ect..
>> > Which would do little to protect anyone. Â Do you really think that
>> > GNU/Linux would be a more difficult target for the NSA (or whichever
>> > agencies were responsible -- I would guess the NSA, but there may be
>> > others)? Â GNU/Linux machines are compromised by criminals all the time,
>> > and the majority of people would not be willing to put in the effort
>> > needed to keep their system secure.
>> > There are probably a bunch of remote exploits in the Linux kernel, in
>> > Firefox and Chrome, in OpenSSL and NSS, in Ghostscript, and in any of
>> > the thousands of other packages that will be installed on a typical
>> > GNU/Linux system.
>> > There is no magic bullet here. Â Security is not about running the right
>> > OS, it is about running your OS the right way (and more). Â Telling
>> > people that using GNU/Linux will make them safe is silly.
>> Fundamentally I agree with you, security isn't about running the right
>> OS, etc, we should acknowledge that not all operating systems are the
>> same. Â Windows is fabulously complex, with a really large number of
>> system calls, many of which take a large number of arguments that in
>> turn change the semantics of the call greatly. Â Together, these
>> represent a very large surface area for potential attacks. Â In turn,
>> many of the Unix variants are simpler; they may not be any more
>> secure, but at a minimum, they have less attack surface area. Â Of
>> course, it's been my impression over the last couple of decades that
>> they're trying as hard as they can to fill the gap. Â To put it in
>> military terms, the Unix variants have traditionally had more surfaces
>> and fewer gaps than Windows.
>> Anyway, this isn't to say that Unix or some variant is inherently more
>> secure, but all other things being equal, I'd rather put my money on
>> the simpler thing, since simpler is often easier to get right.
>> Whether that's really the case or not is another matter; I simply
>> wanted to point out that there are other arguments beside the flawed,
>> "security through obscurity" that may come into play when deciding
>> between operating systems with respect to security.
>> Â Â Â Â - Dan C.
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