Is Linux more secure than Windows?


  • Vivaldi Team

    While neither Linux or Windows can claim to be 100% bulletproof, the perceived wisdom is that Linux is more secure than Windows. We try to find out if that’s the case.

    Click here to see the full blog post


  • Moderator

    This is all well and good... Until chip manufacturers muck it up for everyone. If the hardware is vulnerable I don't think it matters much what os you choose.



  • The biggest vulnerability for any system is seated right in front of it 🥴



  • "On Linux, system-related files are owned by the “root” superuser. If infected, viruses can be easily removed as they can only affect the user account where they were installed, and they do not affect the root account"

    Windows system files (most of them) are readable by other users but editable only by Administrator. Standard user can't delete any file from Program Files or Windows directory (except temp folder).

    Windows can be as secure as Linux, if configured properly.

    Biggest problem of Windows for decades is, that by default first account created have admin privileges and most of the people doesn't know that. And therefore they are using computer with admin rights.



  • It just isn't viable to create sophisticated malware for an OS that has a 2% market share unless you have a very specific target in mind. Add to this that the average Linux user will have a better knowledge of what's going on in their system and it just isn't very attractive to bad actors.


  • Moderator

    @kraligor said in Is Linux more secure than Windows?:

    Add to this that the average Linux user will have a better knowledge of what's going on in their system

    I disagree in your view, most standard Linux users do not know what is going on.

    it just isn't very attractive to bad actors

    Really? Why does malware exist for macOS? It has less market share.
    Attraction from bad guys is not related to any market share.



  • @gwen-dragon: If you take the average knowledge level of all Linux users and compare it with the average knowledge level of all Windows user, I'm pretty sure you'd end up with more knowledge on the Linux side. Simply because Windows is the default option everybody uses, so you'll have a higher percentage of total beginners using Windows, compared to more power users on Linux.

    Sure, malware for macOS exists, and so does malware for Linux. But way, way, WAY fewer than for Windows. If you want money, you attack Windows systems.


  • Moderator

    @Pathduck It's true that at the end of the day if a user does silly things like disable UAC on windows or pipe random scripts into the console via curl | sh on linux that there's not much you can do.

    But an OS should still provide as much help to users as possible for securing their system. Configurable, but on by default.


  • Moderator

    @kraligor Using Linux with programs can be unsafe, too.

    I know much macro malware which works on LibreOffice and Windows Office.

    The problem is that users ignore warnings of the programs and the thy will get a infection by malware or data loss.

    An other part of infection are old file protocols like SMB/CIFS.

    PDF viewers using ghostscript are often broken and can be uses to get higher privileges.

    And so on…


  • Ambassador

    As it says in the blog, no OS is absolutely safe. So far the only difference from Windows and Linux lies only in the fact, that Windows is the most used OS and therefore also more attacked than Linux, which on the other hand has led that MS has more experience regarding attacks and that there is a huge amount of software to reinforce security, which on Linux simply do not exist, or only poorly.
    But ultimately, the best protection is always the common sense of the user and be careful when the worst virus of all approaches the PC, which measures 1.20m and is called nephew.



  • Additional ways to make the use of Vivaldi more secure on Linux would be the isolation from other GUI clients via Wayland and the isolation from the filesystem via sandboxes (as snap or Flatpak package).

    Any chance this will happen? 🙂



  • We shouldn't understate how important the user is in this whole affair. A smart user, who takes the time to learn a bit about security and researches things properly before downloading/installing, is pretty safe in my experience.



  • Windows Defender (soon to be Microsoft Defender) is an anti malware program not an anti virus program.


  • Ambassador

    @lonm said:

    @Pathduck It's true that at the end of the day if a user does silly things like disable UAC on windows or pipe random scripts into the console via curl | sh on linux that there's not much you can do.

    But an OS should still provide as much help to users as possible for securing their system.

    Quite right.
    Many do understand system security configurations but when the industry is selling so many units to the consumer market they must make it easily configurable as you say.


  • Ambassador

    @Chas4 said in Is Linux more secure than Windows?:

    Windows Defender (soon to be Microsoft Defender) is an anti malware program not an anti virus program.

    Windows Defender



  • @gwen-dragon: Sure. Never said Linux was safe. But the risk of getting compromised while doing standard work is way higher with Windows than with any Linux.



  • Maybe you guys should do an article on running V. in a sandbox such as FireJail. I'd think there would be interest in that.



  • Nice to see these linux-related articles



  • This post is deleted!


  • From my experience, Linux is more secure than MS-Windows overall. This comes from using Linux for the past twenty years and raising two kids. We had two computers for the family to use (aside from the third PC my wife and I shared). One PC ran MS-Windows and one ran Linux.
    The kids would always be doing something to screw up the MS-Windows PC, whether it be virus related or other tinkerings. But that Linux PC ran day-in day-out with no problems. I had the Root password and, if the kids messed up their own account on it, I'd just wipe their /home directory and start them off again fresh.


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