(link dead, sorry)
Is Windows Vista's user security elevation better than Mac OS X's? asks the question (and then basically refuses to discuss it).
It is a ridiculous question to start with: Windows Vista doesn't exist except in beta, so the supposed security advantage Vista has may evaporate as Microsoft bends to reality.
The "advantage" touted here involves privilege escalation. When either OS X or Vista needs to do system level tasks, they ask for an administrator password. OS X stores that power (not the password, just the increased privileges) for a small period of time after asking. Apparently current Windows Vista does not.
I don't see this as the InfoWorld author does. First, I think I'd be very annoyed with Windows Vista if it queried me for a password over and over again while I was installing some software. That would get old real fast, and if this truly is how it works, I guarantee Microsoft will be changing that very soon. More to the point is that the moment you give an admin password, you are running some risk, so I think any "security" discussion that starts at this point (admin password given) is inherently silly.
More interesting was a link I noticed in a sidebar: Mac OS X hacked under 30 minutes. That's interesting, but I have to wonder about the apparent confict of the hacker's claim that he used "unpublished exploits -- of which there are a lot for Mac OS X". If they are "unpublished", then how would he know about them unless he invented them himself? OK, maybe these exploits are only available at secret hacker websites, but that isn't really "unpublished", is it? If someone is distributing such information, no matter how restrictively, it will "get out" and it will be fixed.
Also, these reports never really tell us much. Was there a firewall ahead of this box? Why on earth would any sane person set this up so users could add their own accounts? From rm my Mac!, the web page of the hacked person:
I set up an LDAP server and linked it to the Macs naming and authentication services, to let people add their own account to this machine. That way, they will all be able to enjoy the beauty of Mac OS X Tiger. And, of course, get a better chance of rm'ing it!
The story says the machine was hacked, but it seems to be still running. There's some argument at the site itself whether it was hacked at all, if it was whether or not it was patched up to date, and so on. Who knows? I sure don't..
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2012-07-10 Anthony Lawrence