The U.S. military claims that operation security is one of the highest priorities when it comes to their networks. By all means, that’s fantastic.
There’s one major problem–the majority of computers authorized for government use Microsoft Windows.
When I questioned an IT, his (paraphrased) response was, “It’s what we’ve used for a long time. Windows is the easiest operating system for nonsavvy computer users, and it would be a really big job to switch all the computers over to something like Linux and then teach everybody how to use it. It would take a long time and would require backups of all the files on the majority of the computers we have.”
“And Macs would be too expensive, of course,” I responded. He laughed, “Yeah, if we were to do a switch, it would definitely be Linux because even the free versions are so secure.”
Of course, there are viruses out there which can infect different operating systems in different ways-there are even very few viruses that can crash Linux. On top of that, since Linux is used by so far and few, there are less programmers out there that target Linux users. If the majority of the population uses Microsoft Windows, their thinking is they should focus on viruses to target these operating systems.
The compartmentalized nature of Linux mixed with fewer blackhat Linux users out there than blackhat Windows users would increase security many times over. If the Navy is actually taking the time and effort to revamp the prescribed uniforms, which is not as much of a big deal as security, shouldn’t they put more effort into better protecting their networks?
Regarding the issue of many users being unfamiliar with Linux, there’s one thing to keep in mind. The Digital Generation is very good at learning things that are digital, and most of the upcoming military men and women are a part of the Digital Generation. Using Linux could be taught in even less than two weeks of dedication. If all service boot camps were extended by just two weeks, using that final two weeks for the sole purpose of educating personnel in the use of Linux, there would be virutally no problems.
Also, the Linux installation process is much more involved than that of Windows. You’ve probably heard this before, and I’m going to be another one to say this-Microsoft Windows is a retarded program.
Within the last month, a couple computers have been secured due to viruses. These are government computers. Many jokes spread around saying, “The website’s blocked? Just use a proxy!” Many personnel would use proxies, before they learned the dangers that come with many of them. Smarter use would be preferred, but unfortunately, there are many temptations out on the web to do something you shouldn’t.
Switching to Linux would be a wonderful change. Minimize the probability of programs running in the background. Minimize the probability of running viruses. Maximize the potential for smarter computer use and increased network security.