Google is apparently dumping Windows from the organisation and cites a post-Aurora hack analysis of security as the motivation. This is a small blow for Microsoft’s self-esteem but an absolute disaster for Apple.
My reaction: I assume Google will also be naming which security program it plans to roll out to defend these Apples with. Think of all that sales of expensive new Macs, but think of all those extra high-value targets malware writers now have the motivation to attack by creating a new generation of Maccy malware.
Know of any good Mac malware? Me neither, as I've said in the past, but that was in a world where its use in high-profile organisations was extremely rare. Google's Mac love could alter that delicate balance.
This news comes is that at a time when Windows OS vulnerabilities are actually becoming rarer and so banning it will buy Google perhaps an extra six months of breathing space against the dark side of state-sponsored hackery. At least adopting Linux will create some uncertainty as to which distribution the criminals should attack in the staggeringly unlikely event that they can come up with a serious kernel exploit.
A few security companies have spotted the flaw in Google’s stated reasoning, starting with the CEO of security company Trusteer, Mickey Boodaei.
“Mac and Linux are not more secure than Windows. They're less targeted. There is a big difference."
"In a targeted attack where criminals decide to target a specific enterprise because they're interested in its data assets, they can very easily learn the type of platform used (for example Mac or Linux) and then build malware that attacks this platform and release it against the targeted enterprise,” he adds.
Symantec is also sceptical, and being one of the three largest players in end-user security, it should know. They point out that many exploits is sees rely on some form of social engineering that is partly independent of platform.
“Whether Google is indeed vying to rid itself of all vestiges of Microsoft products remains to be seen, but I can tell you that ultimately trying to improve your security posture by getting rid of a particular platform is tantamount to efficiently chopping down trees, only to find out that you are most likely in the wrong forest,” says Symantec researcher, Zulfikar Ramzan.
I think I understand that metaphor.
No, Google, abandon Windows because it’s expensive, in some ways obsolete, and a pain to use. But cutting down platforms in its dotage reduces diversity and a lack of that is precisely why Windows became so heavily targeted by the malware writers in the first place.
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