Free Hogg

02.7.06

Linux is more secure . . . for now.

Filed under: Linux — Hogg @ 1:48 pm

UPDATE: I’m not the only one. Read Scott Lowe’s post on the same topic (he’s talking about OS X, but makes the same point).

I saw this post from OS news via Slashdot the other day and it got me thinking about other things that I have read about Linux and other open-source stuff.

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In the article, Mr. Holwerda explains that UNIX systems are considered more secure since normal malware/viruses/etc. will only attack a user’s /home folder since they usually don’t have root access.

One of the biggest reasons for many people to switch to a UNIX desktop, away from Windows, is security. It is fairly common knowledge that UNIX-like systems are more secure than Windows.

This is all true and good, for now. If Linux ever does become mainstream, like some think it might in the near to quasi-near future, Linux will be just as safe and secure as the “evil” Microsoft Windows.

The vast majority of users use Windows as their primary OS, therefore the vast majority of bad guys write their stuff for Windows. It’s the same for Internet Explorer versus Mozilla Firefox. If I was an evil person, why would I write my viruses, etc. for Linux and Firefox when I could do a lot more damage writing them for IE and Windows.

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That being said, if Linux and OSS become mainstream, the bad guys will begin to target those things causing Linux and OSS to lose their “more secure” status.

So, do we geeks really want our precious OSS to go mainstream?

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2 Comments »

  1. WordPress generated an invalid URL for the original posting. I’ve reposted with a clean URL, so the article is now available at:

    http://blog.scottlowe.org/2006/02/16/the-year-of-the-os-x-exploit/

    Sorry for any problems!

    Comment by Scott Lowe — 02.16.06 @ 5:11 pm

  2. I’d certainly like to see Linux go mainstream and provide Microsoft with some meaningful competition, as well as entice commercial software vendors to port more of their programs to Linux. The security issues can be fixed, since most of them seem to fall under the heading of buffer overruns; it’s a matter of enforcing better programming practices, if this is even possible. (I’ve been involved with computers since about 1970, and programming errors such as uninitialized variables and pointers exceeding array/buffer limits have been around as long as I can remember. When will we learn?)

    Comment by Andrew P. — 02.7.09 @ 10:09 am


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