Microsoft hides behind Linux for protection

Microsoft is relying on Linux to keep its Web site safe from attackers

Microsoft has employed Akamai's Linux-based servers to protect its Web site and reduce the site's vulnerability to viruses, worms and denial of service attacks.

Microsoft has been in turmoil over the past couple of weeks, after at least three significant worm and virus attacks. The Web site was also brought down on at least two separate occasions after a distributed denial of service (DoS) attack. Deploying Linux-based servers is significant because the open-source operating system is an arch-rival to Windows.

According to Internet services company Netcraft, Microsoft changed the DNS of its Web site so that requests for pages are no longer handled by Microsoft's own network, but instead by the Akamai cache servers -- which consists of 15,000 Linux-based servers spread around the globe.

Microsoft's other option was to take the Web site off line, which is exactly what the software giant did with after it came under attack from the Blaster worm. is less important to Microsoft's operations than, and employing Akamai was the best practical step it could take to defend itself against more DoS attacks, Netcraft said.

A Microsoft spokesman told ZDNet UK: "Our many connection service providers' infrastructures are diverse; our main concern is doing whatever it takes to help ensure our customers can get to the patch to protect their computers.”