Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Thought Linux Was Inherently Safer - Guess Not

In [ this item ], it is reported that McAfee plans to port their Entercept product over to Redhat Linux.

The security software maker ported the Entercept server agent to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 because of what it considers to be a rapid rate of adoption for the open source platform. McAfee says that as Linux is more broadly installed, attacks against it have increased with more exploits targeting Web-facing Linux applications.

According to McAfee, attacks against Linux applications have risen dramatically. McAfee points to security bulletins found at Secunia as evidence, deeming it, "one of the most reliable sources we use for vulnerability awareness."

Hmmmm. This sounds very familiar. Seems like someone I know fairly well has been saying in his blog that Linux has enjoyed the illusion of being more secure because it lacks the ubiquity of Windows and is therefore a less desireable target. As Linux gains market share, it is gradually emerging out of the shadow of Security by Obscurity and is properly being exposed as an attack surface that can be exploited.

If open source is inherently more secure because of its development methodology, why does McAfee -- a for-profit enterprise -- see a market need to develop security applications for the open source poster child?