Thursday, September 29, 2005

Connect an unprotected Windows-based PC to the Internet and it will, on average, attract some form of unwelcome advance within 23 minutes. That figure, published this month by the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, reveals a troubling issue.

In less time than it takes to download and install all the various fixes and patches to secure Windows, your PC can fall victim to a malicious worm, virus, or other form of malware. It's an Internet-era Catch-22.

There's little doubt Microsoft has the biggest target on its back. Its ubiquitous software is an easy target for hackers. Just ask the folks at the Mozilla Foundation who created the Firefox browser what it's like to be popular.

Even as downloads of the open-source browser skyrocketed, developers have been forced to issue patches to fix security vulnerabilities. Earlier this month, security experts disclosed an exploit of a serious Firefox flaw, and Mozilla issued a temporary fix.

Still, Microsoft makes the software that a majority of computer users run. Has it made strides in protecting its flagship operating system against what seems to be an unending parade of attacks? For the average user, the answer is a conditional yes, but there's still a way to go.


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