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Source: ZDNet UK
Posted on October 22, 2001

      Firms are being advised to tighten up on security administration rather than switch from Microsoft software to open source operating systems, as fears over digital vulnerabilities mount.

      Eric Chien, chief researcher for Europe at security firm Symantec Response, said that Linux is just as vulnerable as Windows, and that the flaws exploited by Code Red and Nimda viruses were similar to bugs that the Ramen and Lion worms exploited in Linux systems. "Software will always have bugs. All it takes is a single flaw for a worm to gain access to the system. The key is how administrators and vendors respond to those bugs."

      Chien said Microsoft software would remain a popular target for hackers and virus writers because it was so widely used. "This isn't because Microsoft software is (always) less secure. This is because a very large percentage of the computer systems run such software," he said.

      Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus, said in the past Microsoft may have felt it necessary to focus more on functionality than security to position itself as a market leader. However, support and upgrade issues play an important part. "Some users may feel comfortable staying with Microsoft," he said. "They may feel more confident about getting technical support and product updates (from Microsoft) than from a less well-known vendor."

      The advice follows a number of calls for companies to abandon Microsoft products in favour of open source versions. In the last month, analyst company Gartner Group has released a report urging companies to reconsider whether they should use Microsoft's IIS Web server.