Wednesday, February 7, 2007

If a picture paints a thousand words...

...then these images and clear prose should explain why the underpinnings of an operating system matter.

Basically, the author depicts what happens during system calls that occur when a web server serves up a single page of html with a single picture. Because a system call involves accessing memory, the more complex the call process (which is determined by the operating system), the more points of memory can potentially fall prey to a persistent and proficient hacker's probe.

If you're good at patching your Windows system with updates, and if you read what the security fixes entailed, you might remember the "...could allow remote code execution..." updates, which usually had some relationship to system calls.

It's interesting to look at the more simplified Linux arrangement, then the tangled ball of yarn we call Windows and consider what's happening on your 2000, XP, or newer and more bloat-ier Vista box as you surf the Internets.

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