Microsoft has responded to rumours that Google plans to stop using its products.
Writing in a blog post, Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows communications manager at the company, commented on the ‘coverage overnight about the security of Windows and whether or not one particular company is reducing its use'.
Pointing the finger at Google, LeBlanc referred to a story from Mashable where it was reported that Yale University had halted their move to Gmail (and their move to Google's Google Apps for Education package) citing both security and privacy concerns.
He said: “When it comes to security, even hackers admit we're doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone else. And it's not just the hackers; third party influentials and industry leaders like Cisco tell us regularly that our focus and investment continues to surpass others.”
Dave Marcus, director of McAfee Labs security research communications, said that claims that removing Windows will solve all the problems and help prevent attacks such as Operation Aurora are shortsighted, as the objection is not even close to the real issue.
He said: “Sure, the attackers used a very effective zero-day vulnerability and certainly they used lots of evasion techniques in delivering the payload. But the real vulnerability has not been discussed. People were the weak link.
“The attackers who launched Operation Aurora knew their targets well from both corporate and personal viewpoints. They knew what their victims were running and what their roles were. The attackers even knew what application versions they used.
“Would it make any difference if the victims were running Linux or any other operating system if an attacker builds such a sophisticated profile? Not remotely. Linux, Windows, Mac, whatever - everything has weaknesses. Especially the users of those systems.”
He commented that when an attacker knows the details of a company's technical deployment and personnel to the level we saw in Operation Aurora, the difference between one operating system and another is irrelevant as any system or network can be technically compromised. Likewise, malware can be written for any operating system.
Mickey Boodaei, CEO of Trusteer, said that Google's decision to drop use of Microsoft for security reasons may lead other enterprises to follow this practice, and adopting this will not improve their defences against targeted attacks.
He said: “Enterprises that are considering shifting to an operating system like Mac or Linux should realise that although there are less malware programs available against these platforms, the shift will not solve the targeted attacks problem and may even make it worse.
“Mac and Linux are not more secure than Windows. They're less targeted. There is a big difference. If you choose a less targeted platform then there is less of a chance of getting infected with standard viruses and Trojans that are not targeting you specifically. This could be an effective way of reducing infection rates for companies that suffer frequent infections.”
He also claimed that the security community is years behind when it comes to security products for Mac and Linux, and there is much less chance that any security product will be able to effectively detect and block an attack on other operating systems.