Wednesday, February 14, 2007

So what does the security industry use anyways?

It isn't a secret that Symantec and other security companies are not very fond of Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Vista. It probably says something when the CEO of one of the most known software security companies won't move to a new OS that presents itself as being more secure.

John Thompson's comments about him and his company not moving to Vista does raise a question that appearently CNET forget to ask. Such as, what Operating System DO the Security Professionals use themselves? What is on their own home computers?

When I worked for Sitel doing phone support for HSI customers, I didn't make it a secret to customers that I was the worst person within Cox Communications to talk to about Computer Security. I told them up front that I simply knew too much. As a Technical Support Representative it was my job to stay on top of all the potential problems that customers could possibly call in for, be it 169 software errors, malfunctioning modems, or viral infestations. I informed them that I had to keep track of all of the reported virus's that could be in effect on the system, or affecting the system, in order to properly diagnose whatever Connection Issue they were having. This placed me in the position where I could readily link to, and read off, several dozen virus reports in mere seconds. The inevitable question then was : What do you use?

Before I continue, I am also going to note that Sitel's definition of Technical Support did not actually include Technical Support. Solving or identifying the problem was not encouraged by either Cox Communications management, or Sitel Management.

Anyways, the fact was, many of us Technicians, who approached our jobs as Technicians, don't run Windows. It's not that we can't do it, or we aren't capable of doing it. It is that we know too much about what goes on in the background. It doesn't matter how many hardware firewalls I'm behind, or how good my anti-virus protection is, that isn't going to help me against an Operating System whose very design Elements are based on Removing the Administrator from the User.

So, on behalf of CNET which failed to do it's job, what Operating System does John Thompson run on his home computer? Out of all of his employees, how many of them actually use Windows on a daily basis? How many of them bought into Vista?

If you want my guess over what the response would be, I'm willing to bet that John Thompson himself probably is using Red Hat or Ubuntu on his home computer, and I'm going to lay odds that most of the Software Technicians are probably running Pure Debian or Ubuntu. About the only people I could see in Symantec that would still be running Microsoft for an OS would be Sales Reps, but since their jobs involve selling people on the horror stories of what can happen to Windows and why they Need Norton, it is probably a fair gamble that their Home Systems are probably running Mepis, Ubuntu, or PCLinuxOS.

I would be very surprised to find very many Symantec Employees running any Microsoft Product on a regular basis outside of their labs.

*note* There is a clear difference between separating Administrator and User access, and removing the ability to use Administrator Controls from the person physically at the computer. Microsoft's vision of security involves removing the Administrator Account from the Operating System presented to the Client, leaving only User Controls. The typical *nix approach is to Separate the Root and User controls, but not actually remove them from the system.
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