There is much to be said for standards. Standard weights and measures were the key to commerce. Standard railway gages were the key to transportation. A standard currency in Europe is sure making travel easy. But there are drawbacks to standards. Universally deployed systems that may exhibit flaws means that single flaws can lead to catastrophic failure of all systems.
Now the greatest standard of all time is arguably TCP/IP, the foundation of the Internet. With all of the protocols that ride with TCP/IP such as http for web, smtp for email, SIP for Voice over IP we are able to connect and communicate wherever we are in the world. The world traveler is often struck with the comical number of power systems that she encounters while the Internet connection via wire or wireless is always the same and it always works!
The other great standard of our age is Windows. The benefits are huge. Software developers can focus on one platform, product developers need only market one version of their product, IT departments can use the same platforms for supercomputing clusters all the way down to the desktop or handheld device. Cost savings are tremendous.
However, the bad guys have the same advantages. If they want to target the world they can focus on one platform. A single bug that leads to a vulnerability can be widely exploited. A virus can spread from server to desktop to medical device to cell phone to media center.
Couple a universal standard, operating system with a universal standard networking protocol and you have a formula for disaster.
This is the trouble with Windows. Windows ubiquity, while a great success for MSFT stockholders, leads to an insecure computing world that is at risk for catastrophic melt down.
Originally published at www.threatchaos.com