With Linux and Microsoft Insecure, What Are The Next Safe OS Options?

Updated: 23 November 2021
Updated: 23 November 2021

Miklos Zoltan

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Your OS is the basic building framework on which your device’s operations rely. It not only controls the software, memory, and processes within your device but is also responsible for a stable working of the hardware present within it.

It is, therefore, crucial to have a secure and updated OS otherwise, you could come across a plethora of privacy and security issues such as:

  • Contacting a malware infection
  • Disrupted device functionality
  • Increased possibility of hack attacks

However, some of the most popular OS options, Windows and even Linux, are quickly becoming vulnerable, and amidst this, it is best to search for safer solutions.

Related guide: How to install Tails on a USB
Related guide: Should you use a VPN with Tails

Linux and Windows Insecure

Is Linux as Secure as it is Known to Be?

Linux is by far one of the most hyped OS available known for the security and privacy it offers. Developed around 30 years ago, it is not a popular choice of developers, ethical hackers, and privacy advocates for the security it provides.

However, despite the heat that surrounds the OS, its notoriety regarding the security it ensures almost seems superficial. Primarily while considering the amount of vulnerabilities Linux systems have come across in the past few years.

In the last few years, the Linux system has become highly vulnerable to malware attacks.

A recent threat report reveals more than thirteen attempted malware attacks on the Linux system between January to August 2021 alone.

Such researches highlight how vulnerable the once secure system has become. Some of the most common types of Linux attacks observed are:

  • Cryptominers, which make up to be 25% of the attacks
  • 20% of attacks that occur were web shells.
  • 12% of attacks are ransomware such as DoppelPaymer, RansomExx, DarkRadiation, and DarkSide.

The rising influx of these attacks may partly result from Linux users and cybercriminals assuming Linux as the safest OS.

Since 2016, Linux has been under special considerations for cybercriminals, and the system has faced a massive influx of attacks.

The problem remains that being an open-source system, Linux relies on various ethical hackers to find out the system vulnerabilities and patching them.

Therefore, there are no timely releases and patches issues by the OS, which would allow its users to stay up-to-date and informed.

How Secure is the Windows Security Structure?

Windows has been around since 1985, and although the OS has faced much evolution and is now significantly developed, it does not hold this reputation as the most secure OS.

Admittedly the Microsoft team is somewhat vigilant about the prevailing vulnerabilities present within the OS and releases monthly patches every Tuesday.

And although these published patches are indeed useful for the people, it somewhat does tarnishes Widnows reputation for having too many vulnerabilities.

Researches in 2020 highlights how Microsoft’s total number of vulnerabilities has risen by 48% compared to 2019.

The situation seems alarming as Microsft has managed to secure a top place by vendor publishing 1,188 security vulnerabilities in 2020 alone. The situation in 2021 remains somewhat similar.

When looking at the Windows 10 record for Microsoft, the drop in published vulnerabilities is evident, with the number going down to 256.

However, while looking into the average Common Vunerbaiuties and Exposure critical rating (CVE), in 2021, the rate is more significant than in 2020. Some of the most commonly observe attacks on Windows 10 alone are as follows:

Arguably, the rapid increase in Windows vulnerability is owing to the fact that the Windows Operating System is a large project.

And with such large-scale work, there are bound to be flaws that cybercriminals look for to exploit.

However, the problem is not that there are mere flaws within the system; instead, the flaws happen to be critical.

Meaning, any cybercriminals who manage to exploit those flaws before the monthly Tuesday patch will wreak havoc.

Moreover, with Windows being a popular choice due to its ease within homes and offices, the system is easy to easily overlook.

What is the Next Best Safe OS Option?

With the two most popular OS vulnerable to threat actors, it is about to try and get a secure OS. where most people consider MacOS as a relatively safer option.

The year 2021 has not been good for MAC either, which has faced a total of 221 vulnerabilities and an increase in CVE score by 0.03%.

Nevertheless, in comparison to Windows and Linux, macOS has come off as more secure, and that can’t be overlooked.

Moreover, Apple’s System Integrity Protection (SIP) has so far managed to secure macOS from the worst cyber-attacks.

So when it comes to regular use, macOS does seem relatively secure for use.

However, for privacy advocates, things do seem bleak. While they can either take a risk and work through regular security patches and security tools or switch to using virtual OS.

So far, virtual OS have rising popularity due to the security and privacy they offer.

Some of the most popular ones, such as Tails, Qubes, or even OpenBSD, are increasing in popularity amongst tech-savvy users due to the unexceptional security features they provide.

From isolated working environments to keeping absolutely no trace of data and even going as far as protecting information through encryption, it seems as if virtual OS might be the norm in the upcoming future.

However, till then, the best safest option left for us is to try and work with what we have in Windows, Linux, or macOS or be bold enough to use a virtual OS.

Final Words

Attaining online privacy and security within the rising threat landscape is nothing less than a war. With cybercriminals looking to exploit even the most minor vulnerabilities, staying secure online has become an arduous task.

Amidst this, the best possible answer to attaining security is to scramble to try and put on the best armor we have.

The best course of action is to keep an updated and secure OS and ensure additional device security through various security tools.

Since the combination of both seems to be the only way we can attain even a mere speck of security.

Written by: Iam Waqas

Connect with the author:

Cybersecurity specialist Waqas is a cybersecurity journalist and writer who has a knack for writing technology and online privacy-focused articles. He strives to help achieve a secure online environment and is skilled in writing topics related to cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, Cloud security, and a lot more. As seen in: Computer.org, Nordic APIs, Infosecinstitute.com and Tripwire.com.

One thought on “With Linux and Microsoft Insecure, What Are The Next Safe OS Options?”

  1. Bob says:

    Android on servers and workstations!

    ;P

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