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There are two main reasons why smartphones have fine-grained permissions while desktop computers don't. History. Mainframe operating systems have a tradition of giving permissions to the user rather than to the program, and this carried over into minicomputers/workstations/desktops; the desire to maintain compatibility with existing programs limits the ...


17

For technical reasons it is not possible to tell which permissions an application needs until it tries to use them, which means that an application needs some way to declare this. Applications on desktop operating systems never did this. When the user starts a legacy application, you could only assume that it needs everything (training the user to accepting ...


6

There are at least two significant reasons why mobile operating systems have fine-grained permissions for apps, while desktop operating systems don't: History. Desktop operating systems date back several decades, when the primary threat model was different, and consequently have mechanisms designed to deal with that (now-largely-obsolete) threat model. ...


5

As a comparison point, take a look at firewall options on a smartphone vs a desktop OS - I think you will find that the desktop has much more fine-grained firewall options (excluding root firewall apps on android), allowing you to specify which executable has access to communications on which ports and on what networks, whereas it's nearly impossible to ...


1

It's actually only Windows that doesn't have that. (Except appstore apps). On OS X you have to give permission before things like contacts can be accessed or if an application wants to do filesystem changes to anything outside the user's container. For Linux there are things like AppArmor an SELinux, but on most unices, bsd's an linuxes the normal ...


1

There is no isolation between GUI apps on X11, so that allows your user to spy on your clipboard's content, create windows that may look like spoofs of your own windows (e.g. spoofs of your polkit1 dialog or screen locker), record your entire monitor, implement a keylogger... Just create a guest session, seriously. Or use a VM. I would not trust other ...



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