Microsoft did it again! Windows Vista is the safest operating system available on the market today, elevated from the position of the securest Windows platform, and three different distributions of Linux along with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger are left to bite the dust. The data illustrated in the graphics included at the bottom of this article was put together by Jeff Jones, Strategy Director in the Microsoft Security Technology Unit. This is not the first time that Jones has played the vulnerability counting game, but as far as the general conclusions go, absolutely nothing changed.
Windows Vista is still top dog, with all the other operating systems, including Windows XP, trailing the latest Windows platform from Microsoft. According to Jones, Microsoft patched a little over 20 vulnerabilities in Windows Vista since the debut of the year and through July 2007. In the same period, the Redmond company resolved approximately 40 security flaws in Windows XP. But the statistics really jump off the charts when it comes to Vista's rivals.
Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger accounted for in excess of 130 vulnerabilities in the seven months of 2007. Surprisingly enough, although it was released only in March, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Desktop is closely trailing Apple's Unix based operating system with approximately 130 vulnerabilities. Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 accounted for in excess of 145 security holes. Next comes the Ubuntu distribution of Linux with over 150 vulnerabilities and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Workstation with almost 180 security holes.
You will be able to notice from the adjacent images that Vista is also the operating system with the least amount of Critical vulnerabilities. In the past three months from May until July, Microsoft fixes about the same number of vulnerabilities in Vista as it did in XP. Just over 10. The remaining operating systems however have been patched for more than 60 vulnerabilities each in the past three months, with the exception of Tiger with just under 60 security flaws. When taking into account the stripped down versions of Linux, Apple's Mac OS X is left as the most insecure and the most patched operating system available.
Of course that there will always be disputes over if counting the actual volume of patched vulnerabilities is an exact measure of the security Windows, Linux or Tiger offer to their end users.