Which is more secure, Windows or Linux?

The debate rages over whether Windows and proprietary applications or Linux and open source applications are more secure, but is it the right question to ask?

Hardly a day goes by that Microsoft doesn’t announce another security patch for Windows or its associated components, or some other package. But hardly a day goes by that security patches don’t come out for Linux or applications that run on Linux, either.

Counting the number of patches that come out will not give you a complete picture.

So some people look at how early the patches come out. With Microsoft, patches are generally released long after the vulnerability is discovered, and long after viruses and hackers are already taking advantage of it. With Linux and open source, patches are generally released very quickly, and normally before anyone has had the chance to exploit them.

It would seem that the open source development process is more responsive to security vulnerabilities such as this, but there’s still something missing.

People use these computers. And users cause the vast majority of actual security incidents, by choosing poor passwords, giving their passwords out to anyone who asks, installing (usually pirated) software of unknown provenance, buying from spam, and generally being ignorant about security.

If you’re ignorant about security, visit our friends over at Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless who brought you this article today. And stay tuned here; more security articles are planned.

One thought on “Which is more secure, Windows or Linux?

  • June 18, 2006 at 5:27 am

    Clearly Linux is the most secure. And even if Microsoft is now going to pay more attention to security and stability, I’ll believe it when I see it. Even if Windows were more secure, it’s still the one that’s targeted the most.

    As I said on another thread, however, Linux out of the box is not all that secure, simply because most of the security software is not installed and configured by default. Its for this reason that I would have problems advising an unsophisticated Windows user to switch.

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