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The modulating value of Common Criteria

Whether this claim that Maxtor shipped drives with a pre-installed virus turns out to be true or not, this is precisely the sort of event that makes Common Criteria a valuable security certification.

Disparagers of CC would argue that you could probably get chocolate cookies EAL-4 certified if you spent enough time and money, but at least you’d know they were more secure than this box of cookies. Although if you or I really liked cookies (or the Internet) and we had a food allergy (or ran IE6), we would still probably rather take the risk of anaphylaxia than pay a $145 amortization premium for a “secure” chocolate cookie. Not to mention the fact that as soon as you dipped the secure cookie in milk (or installed a service pack or a firmware update), it would lose its certification. And there is perhaps the strongest claim of those who assert that CC has nothing to do with security: who in their right mind would want to eat a cookie without milk?

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