MS blames PC architecture for viruses

BURGESS, Matthew -Syntegra UK matthew.burgess at syntegra.com
Fri Aug 29 02:57:10 PDT 2003


This is from Metro UK (a free newspaper):

---

Personal comptuers will have to be completely redesigned to combat the
threat of virsues like S o b i g . F (additional spaces added in a perhaps
vain attempt to let this mail get past some virus scanners/mail filters)
Microsoft announced yesterday.

The project, which the software giant calls the "next generation secure
computing base", is expected to be completed within three years.

Microsoft security expert Simon Conant said: "We need to go back to the
drawing board with a brand new architecture for the PC."

S o b i g . F, the fastest-spreading virus of all time, infected tens of
millions of computers worldwide this month.

It activated when unsuspecting users opened attachments in e-mails with
headings such as "Thank you", "Re: Details" or "Re: Wicked Screensaver".

It sends multiple copies of itself to every name in a person's online
address book, so each infected machine can spawn hundreds of e-mails.

Detlef Eckert, of Microsoft Europe  said: "A virus like S o b i g" exploits
user behaviour to help it spread".

"Even with the best software you can design today, an attack like S o b i g
is always possible".

Hardware companies, including chip giant Intel and computer manufacturers
IBM and Hewlett-Packard are involved in the project.

---

Points of note:

Second to last paragraph - why is it then that only MS OSes seem so
vulnerable to viruses then?  I've heard rumours of the odd one or two on
Linux/MacOS/etc.  I'd hazard a guess that the much tighter file access
permissions (owner, group, other), if used properly, would limit the damage
done by such a virus and the virus didn't make use of a rootkit (or
root-exploit) of some sort.

3rd Paragraph: Why is an entirely new architecture required?  If OSes like
Linux and BSD can make PCs almost immune to viruses then surely it's the OS
and not the architecture it runs on that is the major vulnerability.

Last paragraph: This is perhaps the most worrying.  At first I thought this
was just MS hype, but now it looks as if it's a big money-spinning activity
endorsed by all the major players under the guise of a security need, or am
I just overly paranoid?

Regards,

Matt.


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