Linux – The Secure Fortress
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While Windows may be the world’s most popular OS, it’s also the world’s favorite playground for malware creators, accounting for a staggering 90% of all malware infections. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of operating system security and discover why Linux may be a better choice for those who prioritize protecting their digital lives.
Is Windows a Malware Magnet?
Linux plays a fundamental role in our digital landscape. It is not surprising that governments and tech industry giants worldwide, such as IBM, Google, and Amazon, have wholeheartedly embraced Linux, the backbone for 97% of the planet’s leading one million domains. Yes, this is largely about safety and performance.
So, what makes Windows vulnerable?
- Well, for starters, it’s a closed-source operating system. This means that the source code is not available to the public, which makes it difficult for security researchers to find and fix vulnerabilities.
- Another problem with Windows is that it’s very complex. This complexity makes it difficult for Microsoft to keep up with all the latest security threats.
- Finally, Windows is often used with outdated software. This software is often full of security vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit.
Linux: The Secure Choice
Linux, on the other hand, is a more secure operating system. It’s open source, so security researchers can quickly find and fix vulnerabilities. It’s also much less complex than Windows, which makes it easier for developers to keep up with the latest security threats.
In addition, Linux users are less likely to be using outdated software. This is because Linux users are generally more tech-savvy than Windows users and are more likely to keep their software up to date.
That’s why Storware bets on linux-based installation for its software. As a company that produces data protection software – Storware Backup and Recovery, the choice of Linux was dictated by profund focus on security and cyber threat resistance.
How does Linux approach security?
Now, let’s dig deeper into this and see why the vast majority of tech companies and governments use Linux. We will focus on some general features and some related to three major Linux distributions by SUSE, Red Hat and Canonical.
Closed Source vs. Open Source: Windows operates as a closed-source system, meaning its source code is locked away from public scrutiny. This secrecy poses a fundamental problem for security researchers, as they can’t easily examine and patch vulnerabilities. Linux is an open-source marvel. The source code is accessible to anyone who wants to inspect it, meaning that there are thousands of eyes analyzing every line for vulnerabilities. This transparency ensures that security flaws are quickly identified and patched rather than being hidden away in proprietary software, as is often the case with Windows.
Built-in kernel security defenses: Linux boasts robust built-in security features, including Kernel Lockdown, SELinux, and AppArmor. Linux provides extensive configuration options, notably Kernel Lockdown, which blocks root account modifications to kernel code, enhancing system security. Lockdown operates in integrity and confidentiality modes. SELinux and AppArmor offer granular control, protecting against misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and exploits.
Permissions System: Linux encourages users to perform tasks with limited privileges. Administrative tasks typically require the use of the “sudo” command, limiting the exposure of high-level permissions.
Of course, Windows also offers their Windows Defender, Windows Firewall or BitLocker. However, Linux has some advantages over Windows in terms of security, such as its default user permissions system and its use of package managers to install software.
Additional security measures implemented by selected Linux distributions
Below you will find some of the security features and tools that each of these Linux distributions offers. Keep in mind that the choice between them depends on your specific needs, such as the scale of your deployment, your organization’s requirements, and your familiarity with the distribution. Security practices and requirements can also vary depending on the specific use case.
- Ubuntu has embraced Snaps, a containerized packaging format. Snaps provide application isolation and allow for better control over software installation, enhancing system security.
- Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW): Ubuntu includes UFW, a user-friendly interface for managing iptables, the built-in firewall for Linux. It simplifies the process of configuring firewall rules.
- Ubuntu offers Livepatch, a service that allows you to apply kernel updates without rebooting the system. This helps in maintaining security without causing downtime.
- Ubuntu Linux encrypts user data by default, which helps to protect it from unauthorized access.
- YaST Security Center is a graphical user interface tool that allows administrators to manage the security of their SUSE Linux systems. YaST Security Center provides a single point of access for configuring security features such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security updates.
- SUSE offers SUSE Manager, a comprehensive solution for managing and monitoring the security of Linux servers in an enterprise environment.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux:
- Red Hat provides the Red Hat Security Data API, which offers security data to help you assess vulnerabilities and apply security updates more effectively.
- Red Hat includes tools for Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) compliance, making it easier to adhere to security standards and configurations.
- Red Hat IdM (Identity Management) offers integrated identity and access management solutions, making it easier to manage user access and authentication securely.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been certified against various security standards, such as Common Criteria and FIPS 140-2, which are important in government and enterprise environments.
- Security-Enhanced Package Management (RPM) is a package management system that can be used to install, update, and remove software packages on Red Hat Linux systems. RPM includes a number of security features, such as digital signatures and verification, to help ensure that only trusted software is installed on the system.
- Red Hat Security Response Team (RHSRT) is a team of security experts who monitor for and respond to security vulnerabilities in Red Hat Linux. The RHSRT provides security patches and updates to help customers keep their systems secure.
Linux: The Fort Knox of Operating Systems
This complexity forces Microsoft to keep pace with evolving security threats. Windows comes with a wide range of pre-installed software, most of which pose potential security risks. In contrast, Linux provides simplicity, making it easier to quickly detect and eliminate vulnerabilities. Linux distributions are known for their minimalist approach, allowing users to install only what they need. Less bloatware means fewer potential entry points for malicious actors.
Google and The Linux Foundation recently revealed their joint commitment to making Linux more secure by allocating funds to support two prominent Linux kernel developers. This noteworthy initiative underscores the unwavering commitment of even the most prominent and influential contributors in the open-source community to making Linux more secure.
In the grand scheme of things, if you genuinely prioritize security and want to minimize your exposure to malware, Linux is the undisputed choice.
But it’s not only about the system, but above all about people. Investing in Linux knowledge and nurturing professionals who work with these operating systems is a crucial step towards ensuring security. Linux has become an integral part of many critical infrastructures and enterprises, making it essential to have a skilled workforce proficient in Linux administration and security. These experts play a pivotal role in safeguarding systems and data from cyber threats. With the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, having well-trained Linux professionals not only enhances an organization’s ability to protect itself but also ensures the resilience and stability of its digital assets. Therefore, investing in Linux expertise is an investment in the long-term security and success of any organization.