Washington, DC — As Bob Trott reported for IDG, The U.S. Army has switched its Web site from Microsoft Corp.’s Windows NT servers to WebStar servers running Apple Computer Inc.’s Mac OS, according to an Army statement.
Citing security concerns over NT, the Army made the move in the wake of an investigation that led to the arrest of a man from Green Bay, Wis., who allegedly hacked the Army’s home page on June 28.
According to an Army report, the 19-year-old, from a hacker group the Army identified as Global Hell, changed some of the page’s content and gained access to an unclassified network. Army investigators arrested the suspect on Aug. 30.
Army officials went with Mac OS because it has no command shell and doesn’t support remote log-ins. A report from the World Wide Web Consortium, which gave the Mac OS-WebStar setup a clean bill of health on the security front, also was a factor in the decision.
In recent months, Web crackers have targeted several U.S. government Web sites, including official sites for the White House, the FBI and the U.S. Senate.
For its part, Microsoft has spent considerable time and energy tamping down security problems with its own products, from NT and other server software to its Internet Explorer browser.
The most recent case involved Hotmail, Microsoft’s Internet e-mail offering. The company recently agreed to an outside security audit after it was revealed that anyone could access a Hotmail account without knowing the user’s password.
On Monday, Microsoft said a newly discovered security hole in Internet Explorer 5.0 could allow malicious webmasters to seize control of a computer through the browser’s ImportExportFavorites feature. Microsoft suggested that users disable Internet Explorer’s Active Scripting feature as a work-around. The company is working on a patch.
Officials from Microsoft weren’t immediately available to discuss the Army’s move.