Is Linux more secure than Apple?



  • About half way through this video, there is mention of Apple being more secure than Windows.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xySOFEMR9n4
    But, what about Linux?

    Okay, this should be more a chit-chat dept. post but seeing that it concerns Linux and then Vivaldi too, i figured i'd get more feedback.



  • No, that Apple and Linux are more secure than Windows is a persistent myth, which comes from times gone by.
    The only reason why Windows is more at risk, is not because of the OS, but because most viruses and malware are for this OS, but this has been changing for a long time and currently, both Mac and Linux also require soft antimalware and this there is a lot less good soft for these OS than for Windows.
    Windows, precisely because the OS is most attacked while it has been shielded much more efficiently than the other SO
    In mobile devices the difference is even more pronounced, In a hacker convention it was found that both iOS and Android had no problem accessing in a matter of minutes, while in WindowsPhone it was much more complicated and it was only achieved very recently by some computer security labs, among them Kaspersky.

    Imgur



  • @catweazle I'd very much like to read your reference links supporting your statements about Linux, please. I suspect that many people might dispute the veracity of such claims, without objective evidence to the contrary.



  • There was a recent post about how insecure the *BSDs are on Slashdot (as compared to Linux), as OS X is based on a BSD I suspect there are more differences than your chart shows. And given that the chart doesn't include either Windows 8.1 or 10, it must be like 5 years old ... (and the mention of "WindowsPhone", which no longer exists as such).



  • @catweazle A lot of the 'good' software for Windows ends up open up more security holes than they close:

    ^ Not to mention the resource-drain and application-borking false positives so often incurred.

    Operating systems should come bundled with robust security measures by default, and, to MS's credit, they are getting better at this. They still have a long way to go, however, and I'm not actually sure that any of the operating systems mentioned thus far are in a really great position when it comes to protecting their users from all the nasties out there.



  • It's a matter of market share. The desktop world is being dominated by Windows, which has a market share of about 88%. This alone makes macOS and especially Linux far more secure than Windows, attackers will always go for the biggest fish.

    I'm using macOS since Lion and have never installed any kind of antivirus software, just the standard Firewall. No problems so far.

    The mobile world, which is nowadays far more important than the dying desktop, is another story altogether.



  • Linux is not a full-fledged operating system but rather a kernel used in many distributions (see e.g. https://cn.pling.com/img//hive/content-pre1/57722-1.png).

    The security of the OS as a whole depends on which software is installed, how it is configured and varies from distro to distro. I would be cautious with interpreting comparative charts like that because due to this it is also very easy to manipulate them by cherry picking a specific distribution and generalizing to the whole ecosystem.

    Linux can be very secure because it gives the user full control over all its parts while Mac OS and Windows are much more closed. This makes it much harder to strip them to their essentials to decrease the attack surface.

    As for the kernels themselves, the windows kernel is a hybrid kernel while Linux and BSD are monolithic kernels. While typically not as secure as a micro-kernel, hybrid kernels are smaller and easier to secure than monolithic ones. However, Microsoft does have a very poor security track-record, so keep that in mind.



  • I think that with respect to Windows security there are many prejudices, Windows fails in some aspects such as tedious updates and privacy especially in Win 10 has some holes, although this can also be mitigated in the configuration and with available apps.
    Regarding malware, these currently exist for all OS and at this point because Windows is the OS traditionally most attacked, it is also the most prepared for these.
    Therefore it is not so easy to talk about the most secure OS among these three, this depends on other factors as well, starting with the user himself and the use and needs of this.
    The correct question would be rather, not which one is more secure, but which OS fits better my needs
    If my main concern is security, I would use SO as for example Whonix or Qube OS, another thing is that they will also serve me in other daily tasks. Linux is also a good alternative, no doubt, but if for different reasons I have to work with company software the thing changes. Although maybe you can make them work with WINE, it's not the most practical.
    At this point Windows is still, because it is the most widespread, also the OS that more software has at its disposal, even more OpenSource software than Linux
    Missed links
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/mac-os-x-is-the-most-vulnerable-os-claims-security-firm/
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-operating-system-2017-windows-os-x-chrome-linux-matt-fowler
    Maybe the best solution is dual boot with Linux or Open BSD and Windows

    @luetage said in Is Linux more secure than Apple?:

    It's a matter of market share. The desktop world is being dominated by Windows, which has a market share of about 88%. This alone makes macOS and especially Linux far more secure than Windows, attackers will always go for the biggest fish.

    I'm using macOS since Lion and have never installed any kind of antivirus software, just the standard Firewall. No problems so far.

    The mobile world, which is nowadays far more important than the dying desktop, is another story altogether.

    Yes, WP is dead, but not because security problems.
    I'm using actualy Windows 7 since 5 years without any problems, my old laptop run smooth and fast, (cold boot and internet ready in less than 40-45 s), without virus or another malware



  • Thanks for posting those links Catwealze.

    Can it be said that Sceptre and Meltdown (+ others) have made all OS less secure than ever?
    From a browser's point of view, Firefox was pretty fast at resolving the Meltdown issue (as opposed evidently to Chrome which took, what, at least a week to patch?).

    But, briefly back to the long video clip... there is mention of the NSA having set a backdoor, back in the days. If so, would this affect all OS?



  • @catweazle - btw, do recall one time looking for a picture of the crib at Bethlehem and a malware made its way through when clicking on the image from a search on the web. Sure, maybe the AV wasn't the best but with another one on USB, was able to fix the situation.

    Now, i don't spend my time searching for pictures on the web, so, what are the chances of getting a nasty on Windows as compared to a Linux distro or OS X?



  • @danielson said in Is Linux more secure than Apple?:

    @catweazle - btw, do recall one time looking for a picture of the crib at Bethlehem and a malware made its way through when clicking on the image from a search on the web. Sure, maybe the AV wasn't the best but with another one on USB, was able to fix the situation.

    Now, i don't spend my time searching for pictures on the web, so, what are the chances of getting a nasty on Windows as compared to a Linux distro or OS X?

    I use the network in a massive way * for almost 10 years, using Panda almost as long as AV and I have never been disappointed by its great speed and efficiency. The only small scope I had with a highjacker browser ace some years ago for a download in Tucows, that I change my home page, in Chrome yet. Although I could eliminate it quite easily.
    I know there are viruses and malware hosted in images and even in YouTube videos, but all I see is a laconic Panda popup in the corner of the screen, warning of the capture and neutralization of such virus or malware.

    • Imgur

    According to the independent AV test, Panda is the only AV with a detection rate of 100%, which I can only confirm.
    But also the other AV's renowned in the market and even the current Windows Defender offer more than enough protection for most users

    @danielson said in Is Linux more secure than Apple?:

    Thanks for posting those links Catwealze.

    Can it be said that Sceptre and Meltdown (+ others) have made all OS less secure than ever?
    From a browser's point of view, Firefox was pretty fast at resolving the Meltdown issue (as opposed evidently to Chrome which took, what, at least a week to patch?).

    But, briefly back to the long video clip... there is mention of the NSA having set a backdoor, back in the days. If so, would this affect all OS?

    Regarding Spectre and Meltdown is a problem that is not dependent on the OS, the security hole is there until a complete reform of computer equipment. And we can't be fooled about NSA and the English Secret Service either. Those who care very little about the OS that we use because they have technologies to be able to enter our PC or intercept our traffic when they please.



  • I fully support what purgatori said about antivirus / "internet security" software. Most of these open more attack vectors that they are able to close. And recent security flaws in some of the big AV solutions only show that more flaws are to be expected in most of them, if only because this software type has to be injected deep into the OS to be able to do its job and at the same time has to rely on frequent network accesses and updates.

    My recommendation on Windows (7+) is using the integrated firewall, the integrated malware protection (which has become much better in the last years) and your head to think...



  • @morg42 - i'm giving it a shot now!
    Doing fresh install of Win 7 - maybe add Panda for extra security?


  • Moderator

    @danielson I wouldn't - but it's your machine and your data.



  • I cannot contribute any topical remarks on Apple, but as others have already gone OT by mentioning Windows v Linux in a topic ostensibly not about Windows, i'll pile in.

    I have been waiting to see if someone would already have mentioned this basic issue, but as none has, i'll reference this https://www.pcworld.com/article/202452/why_linux_is_more_secure_than_windows.html

    1. Privileges

    Linux systems are by no means infallible, but one of their key advantages lies in the way account privileges are assigned. In Windows, users are generally given administrator access by default, which means they pretty much have access to everything on the system, even its most crucial parts. So, then, do viruses. It's like giving terrorists high-level government positions.

    With Linux, on the other hand, users do not usually have such "root" privileges; rather, they're typically given lower-level accounts. What that means is that even if a Linux system is compromised, the virus won't have the root access it would need to do damage systemwide; more likely, just the user's local files and programs would be affected. That can make the difference between a minor annoyance and a major catastrophe in any business setting.

    My comment: On a near-daily basis i look at Ars Technica & Bleeping Computer, amongst others, & in which there is a strong current of fresh reports on the latest instances of ransomware to have emerged. Not always but mostly i do read these articles, hungry to see if any of them concern Linux. I have not read every one of them, & possibly my competence in digesting the ones i have read is deficient. That said, to the best of my recollection, of the very many of those articles i have read, 0% of the ransomware exploits were on Linux, whilst ~ >90% were on Windows. i stopped short of writing 100% coz i vaguely vaguely vaguely thought i might have read of one or two possibly affecting Macs [but i might be totally wrong on that].

    So why would this exploit vector apparently strongly predominate in the Windows ecosystem, but not Linux? I realise the kneejerk response from mono-optical Redmonders would be that it's purely statistical, given the market dominance of Windows, & i concede that has to be a factor. I do opine however that it's unlikely to be the sole factor, & the fact that most Windows users are mostly root, meaning any malware also has root privileges, is surely logically also a factor... IMO likely a very big factor.

    More generally, this article is now dated, but i offer it for historical interest if nothing else; https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/linux-and-open-source/linux-the-clear-choice-for-security/

    Over the last five years, I've been working as a remote support engineer for hundreds of clients (with thousands of end users). I can say this with complete assurance: Nearly 100% of the problems I've dealt with could have been avoided by simply using Linux. Desktops have lost data and businesses have lost hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars because of Windows. That is not opinion... that is fact. Had those users been using Linux, that would not be the case.

    It never ceases to amaze me the amount of reports and claims of Windows superior security, when real-world results point to quite the opposite. And now, thanks to the UK government, there is official proof that Linux (specifically Ubuntu 12.04) is the best choice in a world where security should be priority number one.

    EDIT: Yes i am well aware that technically it is GNU/Linux, but i'm a lazy cow & find it simply easier to just say "Linux". Richard Stallman will probably remove me from his xmas card list, but i'm ok with that.



  • @danielson said in Is Linux more secure than Apple?:

    @morg42 - i'm giving it a shot now!
    Doing fresh install of Win 7 - maybe add Panda for extra security?

    No, it is to have the Windows Defender OR the Panda, it is not advisable to have two AV running simultaneously, because when analyzing the same sensitive zones of the system, they can enter into conflict.
    Panda is a cloud based AV, it receives the information of new viruses and malware (protects even against rootkits) in real time and not a heavy database in HD, which is updated only every x time. Hence its lightness, speed and efficiency, even in the free version



  • Just wondering... with AI auto-correcting software programs making their way (if not already at it), won't security issues become less relevant on any OS?

    @Steffie - perhaps the absence of dedicated security threads at LinuxMint and Solus forums can serve as an indication of less relevance to that problem on Linux?


    @Catweazle - had issues with getting Microsoft Office Suite to sync with online database - have had issues in the past because of some Outlook 2013 incompatibility issues with the rest of the 2016 suite.
    Long story short, got fed up and restored Win 10 with Solus from backup.

    Still contemplating going back to Win 7, but if i do so, it's going to be bye-bye time to anything related to Microsoft Office Suite. Need to find way to remove Defender to run Panda AV only and a good replacement to OneNote though...



  • @danielson said in Is Linux more secure than Apple?:

    Just wondering... with AI auto-correcting software programs making their way (if not already at it), won't security issues become less relevant on any OS?

    @Steffie - perhaps the absence of dedicated security threads at LinuxMint and Solus forums can serve as an indication of less relevance to that problem on Linux?


    @Catweazle - had issues with getting Microsoft Office Suite to sync with online database - have had issues in the past because of some Outlook 2013 incompatibility issues with the rest of the 2016 suite.
    Long story short, got fed up and restored Win 10 with Solus from backup.

    Still contemplating going back to Win 7, but if i do so, it's going to be bye-bye time to anything related to Microsoft Office Suite. Need to find way to remove Defender to run Panda AV only and a good replacement to OneNote though...

    Panda probably already deactivates Windows Defender when installing, there are no problems. If you can, you can deactivate it in the Windows security options too.
    I do not use MS Office or Outlook, I have been using Libre Office for some time now, I do not want to lose compatibilities with each new version with an office suite that is above comercial.



  • More fyi:

    https://www.linux.com/learn/intro-to-linux/2018/1/subgraph-security-focused-distro-malwares-worst-nightmare

    By design, Linux is a very secure operating system. In fact, after 20 years of usage, I have personally experienced only one instance where a Linux machine was compromised. That instance was a server hit with a rootkit. On the desktop side, I’ve yet to experience an attack of any kind.
    That doesn’t mean exploits and attacks on the Linux platform don’t exist. They do. One only need consider Heartbleed and Wannacry, to remember that Linux is not invincible.



  • @steffie -thanks!
    Seeing that I can't afford an Apple, will stick to Linux option.


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