Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Sat 19th Jul 2008 19:01 UTC, submitted by cypress
Linux Linux and UNIX-like operating systems in general are regarded as being more secure for the common user, in contrast with operating systems that have "Windows" as part of their name. Why is that? When entering a dispute on the subject with a Windows user, the most common argument he tries to feed me is that Windows is more widespread, and therefore, more vulnerable. Apart from amusing myths like "Linux is only for servers" or "does it have a word processor?", the issue of Linux desktop security is still seriously misunderstood.
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RE: the reason is simple
by Doc Pain on Sun 20th Jul 2008 12:02 UTC in reply to "the reason is simple"
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

Allthough I think you summarized some very valid points, I may add another reason that is simple, too.

It's the users. Yes, I think it is that simple. If you compare typical statements regarding questions about security in general, viruses, malware, their effects on one user himself and on others, you'll see an interesting difference in the users who use "Windows" and those who don't.

I'll explain this in a very generalized way.

First for the "Windows" users: They don't care for others. They claim to have no virus allthough they haven't checked, and finally, due to the closed nature of their "Windows", they cannot be completely sure. There are firewall applications that do consist of spyware, there are trojans that install theirselves over a faked virus scanner. So it's completely possible that such users run a spam speading machine, including illegal file sharing services. And it does not matter to them. Even if they feel something is wrong, they just reinstall their system (including their malware) and believe everything is fine. If I may say this: I think "Windows" security is about believing, not about knowing.

On the other hand, there are those who use Linux, UNIX, and Mac OS X. Most of them are interested in what their machine is running. They follow the approach: "If I need it, I will install or enable it." Those who want to know exactly what's going on "under the hood", those ones install packet monitors and system diagnostic tools. They can even examine the source code of their OS and their applications and find out where a possible problem can be caused from. Those users usually care for others, for example, they pay attention not to run an authentification-less mail server or let everyone on the Internet access their system without permission. They tend to read what's on the screen instead of just clicking the queaking buttons.

Of course, there are "Windows" admins out there trying to fix security problems day by day that their users cause or that comes from general problems with the software their run. Those could be considered to belong to the group mentioned before because they show responsibility, but they usually don't have such good tools and means to achieve their goals.

According to Linux (and UNIX) getting more usage share among newbies and average users - NB that I'm not talking about oh joy oh market share here! - I hope there won't be many changes to this situation. Because if you treat Linux in a responsibility-less way, remove every barrier that is well intended, just to increase supposed feelings of comfortability, you will end up in a messed-up Linux that is to be compromized within no time.

Finally, ask yourself a question: Why is more than 90% of the world's email amount transferred today nothing but spam? Refer to the first category of users I mentioned above.

So, why care? :-)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: the reason is simple
by netpython on Sun 20th Jul 2008 12:26 in reply to "RE: the reason is simple"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

Social engineering, phishing scams, xss attacks and zero day browser vulnerabilities are not going away and thrive on the weakest link the user.

Reply Parent Score: 2