Preston Gralla reported that during the Black Hat security conference hackers managed to crack into Windows Vista. He acknowledged that any new OS is more prone to security leaks. The longer an OS has been made available, then the more of its security holes are found which are then patched.

This is certainly true, but then he commented:

I expect that soon after Vista ships, we'll see a slew of security patches. Even out the door, it will be safer than XP. And over time, I expect it to be much more secure, although it may be a painful process to get there.

I think, this view is wrong. There is no such painful process which will finally lead to a much more secure Windows Vista.

First of all, I think that Microsoft will update Vista with new features more often than with Windows XP. The transition from XP to Vista was simply too long. These new features will certainly contain new security holes, which will be patched again, and so on.

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Secondly, the fact that some clever hackers cracked an OS doesn't say so much about its security. The only thing that counts when it comes to security is the probability of someone or some malware intruding my system. If there is only one hacker out there who knows how to crack my system, then the change of this probability can hardly be measured. I elaborated on this argument some days ago already.

2 Comments
  1. Jim 16 years ago

    I have two different views relating to this.

    One, I have no problem that they hacked the OS. It’s still in beta. MS claims they already have corrected the exploit but if they hadn’t, they are aware of it now and I’m sure will correct it.

    Two, the comments that this Preston guy made are some of the most out of touch comments in my eyes that I’ve heard in some time. It sounds more like fanboy talk. If you simply rereleased XP with a different name and added a patch or two, it would be more secure than XP was. Duh!

    The rule of thumb is more towards the opposite of Preston is claiming. The longer an OS gets out into the hands that look for this stuff, the more likely exploits get found. That does not mean that there won’t be a slew of fixes when released but it won’t be due to this warped logic he’s using.

  2. Michael Pietroforte 16 years ago

    Jim, I don’t know of any statistics related to this issue. However, it sounds quite reasonable to me that the probability of finding any kind of bug gets bigger the more people use an OS. As the number of Vista users is now limited, I would expect lots of patches shortly after Vista is released.

    I also think that if you don’t add new features to an OS and just concentrate on fixing bugs and security holes, it will get more and more difficult to find new vulnerabilities. If you continue this for a longer time, the OS will be more or less without any security holes. However, Microsoft is unlikely to do that. I am quite sure that they will make major changes to Vista soon after its release.

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