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All hackers try to expliot vulnerabilities within a system. It below referenced groups will do different things with the information they find. The color of the hats date back to the wild west movie days where the good guys wore white an the bad guys wore black.

White Hats – They give the information they find back to the community for the overal protection of everyone. They also work within certain ethical guidelines.

Black Hats – These hackers throw ethics out the window. They are motivated by less that honest pre suits. Money… revenege… etc. These individuals will exploit the found vulnerabilities to their own purposes. They work without official sanctions.

Grey Hats – These are individuals that are not in the hacking game for profit or revenge. They are in it for the personal fame. Very often these individual will feel that their hacking activities are for the greater good. (Like hacking BP’s website to make them look bad in the yes of the world).

Being a UNIX guy it’s easy to bash the Windows Operating System. The fact is Windows is arguably the most popular OS on the market today. In business there are two ways to make money… sell a superior product that only appeals to a size group and charge a lot of money for your goods. The other is to make something useful in a highly competitive market, charge a much smaller fee and go for the masses. This basic theory applies to hackers as well! In their case they almost always go for the masses. This is the foundation to my theory that it’s only a matter of time before the Mac OS falls due to the popularity of iOS device (aka iPhones)… but that’s a different conversion!

All this being said… Windows OS defines the ways computers can be exploited! They have more than their fair share of malware; Viruses, Trojans, Worms to name a few. It has its fair share of software vulnerabilities. IE and ActiveX controls! Buffer Overflows are pretty common on all OS’s and Windows is no exception. There’s Windows trust models and the way that the OS relies on Active Directory for authorization to bound devices. There are default user accounts and services that need to be secured… though Microsoft has come a long way at closing these holes down!

Just like Y2K issues, many Windows vulnerabilities are known about for quite some time before fixes are put into place. Additionally, often times there are fixes for these holes that just don’t get taken care of before a host is compromised. Many times the breaching of computer could have been prevented by simply keeping the machine up to date. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and a belt and suspenders strategy makes the most sense to keep machine secure. Secure machines behind firewalls and make sure they also have a working Anti-Virus program in place.

The fact is all operating systems have vulnerabilities! System administrators need to be diligent at closing the holes and keeping the OS’s up to date with the latest patches from the operating system manufactures in order to best protect our machines from being compromised!

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