In this very informative article from Forbes.com it seems the word is out that the U.S. Army wised up back in 2005 and started diversifying its IT infrastructure with Macs, servers as well as clients. This military vet (U.S. Air Force) finds this to be a good thing. The Defense Department, who the U.S. Army answers to, was, and I’m sure continues, to be ahead of the curve in regards to IT threats. After all, they’re the experts at assessing threats. Let’s not forget that the ARPANET is the predecessor to the Internet, and it was the DARPA folks who brilliantly developed packet switching after the Soviet Union scared the wits out of the U.S. with the Sputnik launch. But I digress on more Internet trivia.
Anywho, the article makes it seem as if the Army is now shying away from the all-eggs-in-one-basket approach in the sense of using different operating systems (OS). If one OS is hacked, then they can fall back and use the other. Of course, once one OS is hacked, your network is likely compromised and that’s when the problems start. But still, having an uncompromised OS to use to see what’s going on on your network, possibly covertly, is better than having no OS to trust at all. And, of course, one still wants to maintain some form of operational functionality if possible. Btw, I’d just like to say that I don’t for one second believe the Army had all it’s eggs in one basket. Not for a second.
The Forbes piece also has, surprise-surprise, a bit of a Apple vs. Windows moment towards the end regarding which OS is more secure, who is rolling out more patches, blah, blah, blah… I’m tiring of this. For record, I love Macs. This is unmistakable. I like Windows systems, but I’m no fan of Vista for myriad reasons that have been written about by many people with more talent and know-how than I, in more articles than I care to link to, and I believe Macs are definitely better suited for the average home user (I don’t have any recent experience using Macs in a large network environment). Nevertheless, I’m not one of those die hard Mac fanatics who refuses to see that over the horizon is the likelihood of a very different future. A future where threats to Mac OS X are more likely. As we all know, the most common vulnerability to a system is not a cool piece of code that’s been written by some evil-genius programmer. It’s the naïve user who executes the code, more likely crafted by some script kiddy, that sets off who knows what. To assume these same users, some of whom are quite likely to be switching, if they haven’t already after Christmas, will magically change their bad user habits would be quite naïve as well. The elephant in the room that few Mac die hards admit to is that there is great protection in our small number of users (compared to the number of Windows users). If you can’t admit that, you’re probably deceiving yourself. But as our numbers grow, so does the likelihood of malicious code being created for OS X. Popularity has a price. Just watch VH1 and you’ll see what I mean (lol). Yes, I know that Windows is poorly written code compared to Unix (the core of OS X). I’m no coder, but I know a few who are pretty darn good ( 😉 ) and they confirm this to be the case. However, I know there are also some pretty talented bad-guy coders out there, who are being paid hefty fees to find and create vulnerabilities in an OS as well. They are likely to start focusing on OS X, if they haven’t already. After all, hyenas will follow lions if hungry enough, and will snatch away what they can. And, like hyenas, they will occasional get a meal.
So my fellow Mac-O-holics, I’m guessing I’m likely to revisit this post sometime in the future.