Serving Hacker Jargon to the Internet since Jan 1995.
security through obscurity (alt. `security by obscurity') A term applied by hackers to most OS vendors' favorite way of coping with security holes -- namely, ignoring them, documenting neither any known holes nor the underlying security algorithms, trusting that nobody will find out about them and that people who do find out about them won't exploit them. This "strategy" never works for long and occasionally sets the world up for debacles like the RTM worm of 1988 (see Great Worm, the), but once the brief moments of panic created by such events subside most vendors are all too willing to turn over and go back to sleep. After all, actually fixing the bugs would siphon off the resources needed to implement the next user-interface frill on marketing's wish list -- and besides, if they started fixing security bugs customers might begin to *expect* it and imagine that their warranties of merchantability gave them some sort of *right* to a system with fewer holes in it than a shotgunned Swiss cheese, and *then* where would we be?
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