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The diversity and simplicity protection

Posted by: ruohtula on June 06, 2002 10:02 PM
I think the really beneficial thing here would be using uncommon systems without
bells and whistles, and not necessarily old systems. An actual old system is more likely to
have buffer overruns, or long-dormant bugs (like the zlib vulnerability that was such a hassle a few months ago). Taking a reputable current operating system that is not near the
top of Netcraft website summaries (OpenBSD?) and running a current but rare and simple
server (one such might be thttpd) would probably be safer against script kiddies
than using "dusty-deck" software.

Of course, you must be prepared to switch systems if your solution starts becoming

Using "diverse" software is not necessarily "security by obscurity" as another
comment claimed. It would actually be a variant of the biological strategy that has
among other things prevented any single disease from wiping out the human race.
The Warhol worm and other nasties discussed in the recent research paper "How to 0wn
the Internet in your spare time" depend on the existence of large numbers of sites
with identical vulnerable software. Being different protects you from that (and other
indiscriminate attacks). But it does not necessarily protect you from a skilled attacker
who is determined to crack your site in particular.


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