24 Jan 2019

What Makes Linux More Secure Than Windows?

When you browse around old school computing forums, you will find the Linux vs. Windows debate raging in full force. People have been discussing this topic for years, arguing over which of the two systems is better for each kind of user, along which offers the best security. Unfortunately for most, Linux has long provided a better option for those who are more security conscious. How exactly does Linux manage to stay ahead of a company as large as Microsoft, though?

In reality, this isn't necessarily thanks to Linux being a better operating system. Instead, it’s mostly because of the inherent issues with a system like Windows. Updating Windows 10 takes up so many system resources that a lot of people will simply turn it off, losing crucial security updates which they can't afford to live without. This has resulting in huge issues over the last couple of years, with a couple of notable examples cause widespread chaos for users around the world. Depending on the distro you choose, Linux won't cause this issue, with updates being handled quietly in the background.

Along with being laced with update-related drawbacks, Windows has a built-in feature which a lot of modern users would consider to be very insecure: data collection. As part of the recommended install settings for the OS, data about your usage will be sent to Microsoft to help them to "improve their products". While they may promise not to sell or share this information, a lot of companies have made this promise over the last few years, and it doesn't often mean much.

Of course, this isn't all about the problems with Windows, as this list could go on for a long time. Instead, it's time to go back to Linux, considering the benefits which an open source approach can bring. Take verification software, for example. By browsing the web, you will quickly find out the benefits of using Netverify include the security it promises, and this is largely thanks to the ability of the developers within the company to work on systems like Linux. Thanks to its use in business, there are few systems which can match the virus and malware protection found for Linux.

Finally, as the last area to think about, the popularity of Windows can often be attributed to its downfall. When a criminal decides to make a piece of malware, it makes far more sense to target it towards Windows, as it will have the chance to impact more people. Of course, though, this doesn't mean that Linux is completely safe, and you should always be thinking about online security, regardless of the system you use.

With all of this in mind, you should have a much better idea of who comes out as the winner in the security debate. In a lot of cases, computer security is far more down to the user than the operating system, making it worth spending some time to learn about the different jobs which can be done to protect yourself in an active way.

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  1. Yes! I just love short, pithy and well-reasoned articles like this.

  2. One key reason is that permissions are strictly enforced on a Linux system. Thus, if I execute some viral code, the best it can do is copy itself to somewhere under my home folder. It cannot write itself to /usr/bin or other system folder unless I am running programs (as one should not) as root. Thus, it is much more difficult for viruses to replicate and infect Linux systems.

  3. Linux is modular and basically made out of parts that work together instead of one big fat OS where everything is locked into eachother.

    Linux, build to mimic unix, was build up as a real multi user OS, with strong divided rights etc. the same isn't true for windows, even though it's also multi user, it falls short in many ways.

    It's open source, and for your code to be included it is held against higher standards and reviews compared to code that goes into windows (if you would submit lousy code, Linus would verbally rape you, well, that is until last year ;) ).