Terrorists Can Hack Linux Easier Than Windows

The Alexis de Toqueville Institution (ADTI), a conservative Washington research organization (think tank), is set to issue a paper outlining reasons that Linux might be more easily compromised by terrorists, and urging the American government to step back and have a "national debate" on the viability of Open Source vs. proprietary software and its security.

ADTI asserts that the full availability of Linux source code allows "good guys and bad guys" to both make modifications to the operating system and its components. The paper further suggests that the Microsoft operating systems are ideal candidates for running government computer networks due to the fact that HR managers have stated that 87% of people holding MCSE certifications are either equally or more successful than college graduates. Ken Brown, ADTI member and author of the paper, labels himself an Open Source advocate, and states that he is not shunning the Open Source environment but wants to take a longer look at the viability of Open Source software and operating systems where they touch security-sensitive systems.

However, the Department of Defense (DoD) is moving forward with Open Source solutions based on information in a report provided to it by Mitre Corp, a non-profit company which does research for the DoD, IRS, and FAA. This report states that Open Source software is more secure and less expensive, and that banning Open Source would have a strong, negative impact on the ability of the DoD to protect itself against cyber attacks. Furthermore, the NSA (National Security Agency) has been working for some time to create a hardened, more secure version of Linux. The NSA states that the reason it chose Linux was due to its growing success and open development environment. It further stated that the testing of a mainstream operating system in a tightly secure environment could yield further research on operating systems security and lead to the creation of more tightly secured systems.

With the recent announcements that Germany and Taiwan are adopting Open Source solutions in an effort to avoid the highly expensive licensing fees Microsoft is charging for its products, Linux would appear to have major backing. Although the ADTI would neither confirm or deny that it received funds from Microsoft, The Register reports that Richard M. Smith found that Microsoft funding was present.

To get more information, see The Register and

The Network Administrators Opinion:
by Doug Chick

Quite frankly, I don't know how to comment on this piece. If Microsoft is in fact providing funding for these findings then clearly Linux is gaining more ground than anyone has expected. This will be good news for the Linux camp. On the other hand; this could be a well placed response to Ralph Nader' request from the Bush Administration.  If either are true than think tanks are nothing more then propaganda machines for big business like every other so called "Institute"