International Space Station attacked by ‘virus epidemics’ by Samuel Gibbs.
From the post:
Malware made its way aboard the International Space Station (ISS) causing “virus epidemics” in space, according to security expert Eugene Kaspersky.
Kaspersky, head of security firm Kaspersky labs, revealed at the Canberra Press Club 2013 in Australia that before the ISS switched from Windows XP to Linux computers, Russian cosmonauts managed to carry infected USB storage devices aboard the station spreading computer viruses to the connected computers.
In May, the United Space Alliance, which oversees the running of if the ISS in orbit, migrated all the computer systems related to the ISS over to Linux for security, stability and reliability reasons.
If your or your company is at all concerned with security issues, open source software is the only realistic option.
Not that open source software has fewer bugs in fact on release, but because there is the potential for a large community of users to be seeking those bugs out and fixing them.
The recent Apple “goto fail” farce would not happen in an open source product. Some tester, intentionally or accidentally would use invalid credentials and so the problem would have surfaced.
If we are lucky, Apple had one tester who was also tasked with other duties and so we got what Apple chose to pay for.
This is not a knock against software companies that sell software for a profit. Rather it is a challenge to the current marketing of software for a profit.
Imagine that MS SQL Server was open source but commercial software. That is the source code is freely available but the licensing prohibits its use for commercial resale.
Do you really think that banks, insurance companies, enterprises are going to be grabbing source code and compiling it to avoid license fees?
I admit to having a low opinion of the morality of bank, insurance companies, etc., but they also have finely tuned senses of risk. Might save a few bucks in the short run, but the consequences of getting caught are quite severe.
So there would be lots of hobbyists hacking on, trying to improve, etc. MS SQL Server source code.
You know that hackers can no more keep a secret than a member of Congress, albeit hackers don’t usually blurt out secrets on the evening news. Every bug, improvement, etc. would become public knowledge fairly quickly.
MS could even make contribution of bugs, fixes as a condition of the open source download.
MS could continue to sell MS SQL Server as commercial software as before making it open source.
The difference would be instead of N programmers working to find and fix bugs, there would be N + Internet community working to find and fix bugs.
The other difference being the security conscious in military, national security, and government organizations, would not have to be planning migrations away from closed source software.
Post-Snowden, open source software is the only viable security option.
PS: Yes, I have seen the “we are not betraying you now” and/or “we betray you only when required by law to do so,” statements from various vendors.
I much prefer to not be betrayed at all.
PS: There is another advantage to vendors from an all open source policy on software. Vendors worry about others copying their code, etc. With open source that should be easy enough to monitor and prove.