Print 94 comment(s) - last by Piiman.. on Dec 29 at 1:55 PM

There's also nary a mention about Microsoft's pro-security switch to a walled garden model

Online newspaper Inc. has published a pretty interesting account ripping into Windows RT, which it calls "Doomed".  The author, Geoffrey James, has a big warning to business -- "inherently unstable and insecure."

The author lauds Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad as the new paradigm of glorious computing and security, while lashing Microsoft, writing:

I used to work in an operating system development group. One thing I learned back then is that any OS that allows applications to modify the OS will be inherently unstable and insecure.

Since Windows is designed to allow that to happen, both computer viruses and the gradual "rot" of the software installed on a Windows system are both inevitable. There is no way to fix the problem because it's inherent in Windows's design.
I'm a case in point. While I'm still using a Windows machine for most of my writing, I'm serious thinking of "taking the leap" to only using my iPad simply to avoid the support headaches that are inevitable with Windows.

In short, the Surface is doomed because the entire concept behind it is flawed. Even plain Windows is getting so old and creaky that it's getting to be more a bother than its worth.

But the columnist misses (or at least never mentions) that the device he targets in the byline (Surface) is currently only being sold with Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows RT (Surface Pro -- the x86 version -- isn't expected until next month).  And not a single piece of traditional Windows malware can run on Windows RT without recompilation, as it runs on a fundamentally different architecture/instruction set (ARM) versus past versions of Windows (x86).

Surface RT can't run traditional x86 malware.
In other words, the columnist's negative experience of getting his laptop penetrated by a "root kit" is drastically less likely to occur in Windows RT, particularly while it enjoys such a peachy (from a security perspective) low market share, compared to traditional Windows.

Another thing the columnist seems to miss is that both Windows 8 and Windows RT Microsoft offer perhaps the biggest pro-security (but anti-openness) shift that has helped protect the iPad -- the switch to primarily using a "walled garden" model of software distribution.  In Windows 8 you primarily buy apps through Windows Store.  Microsoft verifies each of these apps and can yank any app at any time if it is later discovered to pose some sort of security risk.

Windows Store
Microsoft now uses a similar pro-security "walled garden" model as Apple, pushing certified-safe apps from the Windows Store. [Image Source: ZDNet]

Granted, Microsoft does practice a laissez-faire policy regarding Windows 7 legacy software (which won't run on Windows RT, but will generally run on Windows 8) and plug-in based distribution models, such as the Java-based Valve client.  In this regard it differs from Apple who strictly prohibits such freedoms. But increasingly from here on out users will be getting their apps from a single secure source -- Microsoft.

Additionally, the apps in Windows 8 are nicely sandboxed.  They simply are not allowed to "modify the OS" as the author suggest.  Windows 8 and Windows RT have robust protection against traditional attack vectors like memory injection, protections that rival those in the OS X tree.

Some criticisms of Windows 8 have been more level-handed pointing out perfectly valid opinions that many share about places the ambitious user interface redesign may have gone too far.  But some criticisms -- such as the argument to buy an iPad instead of a Surface RT because Windows is "unstable and insecure" -- are simply bizarre to the point where they almost appear to be a comedic caricature of misconceptions surrounding the Windows platform.

Source: Inc.

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RE: I love how....
By Argon18 on 12/4/2012 12:38:52 PM , Rating: -1
Windows is a security disaster. You don't understand basic security models if you think Windows is more secure than OSX. UNIX OS's are inherently more secure than Microsoft's swiss-cheese OS model.

The only people who assert that Windows is a secure OS, are people who have no understanding or experience with other OS's, and no comprehension of basic OS security concepts.

RE: I love how....
By Flunk on 12/4/2012 12:40:27 PM , Rating: 3
Other than just making wild claims, do you have anything to back that up? Like say, the number critical bugs discovered in OS X security last year vs Windows 7? Or the time to patch critical bugs?

Go look that stuff up, and next time you want to make a point bring some research to the table.

RE: I love how....
By chµck on 12/4/2012 12:57:01 PM , Rating: 5
you ever read that quote at the end of article pages that says something like "windows is like a house with bars on its windows in the bad part of town. OSX is like a country house with no locks on the doors in the middle of the country"/?
There's a reason for that.

RE: I love how....
By nikon133 on 12/4/2012 3:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
True, but that countryside is not what it was only a few years before. More and more shady faces in the countryside every day...

RE: I love how....
By Camikazi on 12/4/2012 12:57:48 PM , Rating: 4
Been running Windows for years now and the only time I get a virus is when I am doing something where I know there is a high chance of getting a virus (even then it rarely happens). Windows is secure as long as you are not an idiot who clicks every popup and link that shows up on your screen. BTW I believe it is OSX that gets hacked first pretty much every year at hacking tournaments or did I imagine that year after year?

RE: I love how....
By anti-painkilla on 12/4/2012 2:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
Haha totally agree. I ran Win7 with no anti-virus and the firewall disabled for 7 months.

I thought I had installed anti-virus software but had forgotten. I go to some pretty crazy sites so I just assumed that the anti-virus was doing its job. Soon as I realised, I installed and thoroughly checked my computer and no problems, not even adware installed.

Win7 is pretty amazing.

RE: I love how....
By Akrovah on 12/4/2012 1:50:40 PM , Rating: 3
Windows pre-Vista you might be right, but you know what? Vista had an almost complete re-write of the security aspects, which is one of the reasons Vista took so long to be released.

Now OSX/Safari are consistently broken first in hacking contests.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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