You know, I really don't care what you do for a living, when you said you turn to Cnet regularly for anything besides some simple amusement, you lost all credibility with me as far as your technical aptitude goes. That, and your narrow minded views on not learning the Mac platform, which is gaining quite a significant bit of ground lately.
Standardization is a double edged sword. On the one hand, yes, it does make life of the support person easier. You can count on such and such programs being present, that they will be some specific version, etc. On the other hand, that works equally well for any hackers or other ne're do wells out there. They can probe one system and be able to reasonably assume that most or all systems on that network will be the same. So all it takes is ONE unpatched vulnerability and you've got a huge mess on your hands.
Security is achieved, in part, through variety. It's one layer on the onion so to speak. Things like the Melissa or Code Red worms would never have been able to spread as effectively as they did had the world not essentially standardized on Microsoft products. If there had been a bit more variety in the programs used, whole companies wouldn't have been brought to a grinding halt.
Still, that's not really the point. The point is is that many popular Microsoft products are riddled with security vulnerabilities. Now you can say that's because Microsoft products are so popular that they're targeted by more people... Or you can spend 5 seconds to see what a complete crock that theory is by realizing that it doesn't matter how many people poke and prod some program, there has to be something there for them to find in the first place. I could hire a million people to try and find some exploit in my simple hello world program, and I'll bet you that all one million of them will come up empty.
Anyway, it doesn't matter WHY you think it is that Microsoft programs are so frequently exploited, fact is they are. So, from a purely pragmatic vantage point, the best course of action is to avoid using the unsafe programs. I'm not claiming that Firefox or any of the others are free of exploits, just that they have a considerably lower number of them compared to Internet Explorer, that they are usually fixed faster, fixed properly the first time (Microsoft likes to come up with half-arsed fixes that only address the immediate exploit, not the mechanism being exploited, leaving room for variants) and the relative severity of those exploits found is lower than IE, or any of the other programs mention.
So, getting back to the security is like an onion, being full of layers with program variety being one of those layers... If there was more variety in the operating systems and web browsers people used, there would be much less risk of malware. The ideal situation would be having at least three operating systems and web browsers with an equal share of the overall market.
Anyway, for someone who claims to be some big shot tech but still relies on Cnet, and refuses to learn other platforms out of some misguided sense of loyalty, I think I've spent enough time on you. Respond if you like, and tell me what an arrogant jackass I am, etc, etc. Get it all out. I'll give you the last word, because I'm going to go do something more productive with my time than debate an issue with someone who places far too much importance on their job title and has a narrow minded view of the world.
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