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There has been a consistent amount of "ink" spilled over comparing Windows, Linux and Mac OS X this month. The reports have generated some controversy, because they point out that Windows
delivers a more secure platform than Linux and Mac OS X. For some, this simply appears to defy the "logic" that has been proliferated by marketing campaigns from Linux and Apple. Microsoft's own marketing campaigns always tout the latest Windows version as the most secure Windows platform to date, Linux and Apple just top that by offering an even more secure operating systems than Windows.
There is the general customer perception that Linux and Mac OS X are not affected by bugs, or security vulnerabilities, that they are impervious and deliver absolute protection to their users. On more than one occasion, I have seen Linux and Mac OS X users claim that they never had to implement an anti-virus with their operating systems. This is the case of one of my friends, which never installed anything even remote to a security solution on her Mac OS X Tiger. So the fact that Linux and Mac OS X users feel safer than Windows users reflects a reality and not just a marketing doctrine.
But at the same time you have to look at the statistics. On March 13, the Redmond Company released no security updates for any of its products. And while Microsoft was skipping a monthly patch cycle, the first time since 2005, on the very same day, Apple plugged a total of 45 security vulnerabilities in its operating system and in third party programs. The majority of security patches addressed issues reveled in January 2007 via the Month of the Apple Bugs
. In January, no less than 31 security vulnerabilities were disclosed for Apple products, at the rate of one per day.
Has this scarred Apple's products in any way? I don't think so. Has it impacted Apple's reputation as a standard and an apex for security? Not even in the least. In fact, I have found that the majority of Mac OS X users remain unaware of this issue or even downplay it. And despite announcing their intention to contribute to the perfecting of Apple products, the two researchers behind the project, Kevin Finisterre of Digital Munition and L.M.H. from Month of Kernel Bugs, have been gratuitously attacked by Apple supporters.
And we are down to the issue of patch development time. Symantec has looked into this issue and concluded that Microsoft Windows has a much shorter average patch development time than Red Hat Linux and Mac OS X. Symantec comprised statistics for 2006. Microsoft spent an average of 21 days on building updates for 39 security vulnerabilities in Windows, 12 of which were considered high severity in the last six months of the past year in comparison with the 13 days it took to deliver patches for 22 flaws in the first half of 2006, only five of which were labeled high severity.
Red Hat Linux is runner up in the context of the shorter development time, taking almost three times as much as Microsoft to patch a sample set of 208 vulnerabilities from July to December 2006, only two of which were considered high severity. In the first six months of 2006, 42 vulnerabilities have been patched in Red Hat Linux, only one was considered high severity, and an average patch development time of 13 days was spent on delivering the fixes.
43 vulnerabilities plagued Mac OS X in the second half of 2006, one of which highly severe, and Apple took no less than an average patch development time of 66 days to resolve the issues. In the first six months of the past year, Apple had an average patch development time of 37 days for 21 vulnerabilities, three of which were considered high severity.
In terms of the most critical vulnerabilities, Windows is clearly a more exposed platform with 17 high severity flaws in 2006. But since we are talking code quality, Windows had a total of 61 vulnerabilities in 2006, Red Hat Linux had 250, and Mac OS X 64.
"The risk of exploitation in the wild is a major driving force in the development of patches. As with previous periods, Microsoft Windows was the operating system that had the most vulnerabilities with associated exploit code and exploit activity in the wild. This may have pressured Microsoft to develop and issue patches more quickly than other vendors. Another pressure that may have influenced Microsoft's relatively short patch development time is the development of unofficial patches by third parties in response to high-profile vulnerabilities," Symantec explained in the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report - Trends for July-December 06 -Volume XI, Published March 2007
Jeff Jones, Security Strategy Director in Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group has compared the performances of Windows Vista, Windows XP, Red Hat Linux and Mac OS X Tiger
in the first 90 days of commercial availability it terms of resolved vulnerabilities.
Mac OS X v10.4 had 10 vulnerabilities disclosed prior to the April 29, 2005 launch, four of which high severity. In the first 90 days Apple patched 20 vulnerabilities in Mac OS X Tiger, eight of which, counting the four already mentioned were considered high severity. After the first 90 days there were still 17 issues expecting to be addressed in Mac OS X.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 Workstation shipped on February 15 2005, with 129 vulnerabilities publicly disclosed, no less than 40 high severity flaws. In the first 90 days of general availability Red Hat addressed a total of 181 vulnerabilities, 58 of which had a level of high severity.
Microsoft resolved three vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer before it shipped Windows XP SP2. Including these three, Microsoft plugged a total of 14 holes, out of which eight were high severity.
Windows Vista delivered a superior performance to Windows XP SP2 with only five vulnerability disclosures in the first 90 days since November 30, 2006. "5 total vulnerability disclosures in the first 90 days, with one of them fixed and one High severity one pending, along with 2 Mediums and a Low severity vulnerability. Is that good, bad or indifferent? Let's look at other operating systems and see if they can provide some context for these numbers," Jones revealed.
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|Comment #1 by: Jawshie on 27 Mar 2007, 04:04 UTC|| reply to this comment|
It is silly to base the security of an OS based on how many patches it releases. You say that Microsoft releases less patches therefore is more secure? Thats bologna! The beauty of being Microsoft is that you don't have to fix every vulnerability. Antivirus, Antimalware, and other security companies complete this task for them to get a tenderloin of the cash cow.
Let us see you install a fresh copy of Windows XP SP2, run on administrator mode (since most people do) and try not to get infected in some way during your normal routine, whatever it may be. Even turn of your lovely NAT routers perhaps.
You will definatly find that OS X and Linux are far more superior in this aspect. I have to donate probably 100MBs of memory on my Windows machine to keep it safe even though the things I do are considered safe. The other OSs can satisfy the wasted 100MBs with nice graphics or perhaps a web browser :)
|Comment #1.1 by: Sabotor78 on 27 Mar 2007, 12:11 GMT|
Yeah, 100MB it is a lot (BTW, Kaspersky Antivirus it is using only about 10 MB) and i can't use an antivirus because i'll run out of memory :D. But, if you think a little, imagine if you want to create a virus, do you want to infect many computers or just a few of them? So, for which OS will you design your virus? For OSX (running on about 6 % of the personal computers in the world), for Linux (about 0.42 %) or for Windows (91.51 %) source - http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=2 ? I'm pretty sure that if Linux (or OSX) was in Windows's position, the whole thing would be upside down. And as far as I am concerned, I want that OS that has the fastest response time (regarding security update releases), because there is no such thing as a secure OS.
|Comment #1.2 by: calavier62 on 03 Nov 2010, 18:53 GMT|
You need to take into account bugs in the operating system that can damage your computer (such as bad Hard Drive Controllers, Fan Speed Settings, etc.) and they need to be fixed, to prevent lawsuits. I use Linux, and I find it far superior to all others, especially the 20-something virus count. That being said, I don't use AV for Windows, and I haven't gotten a single virus. You get viruses through unsafe downloads and sites; which Mozilla Firefox prevents (it has a built in AV program which will delete any download that was processed if it is unsafe)
Back to patches, Mac OS X Snow Leopard still has some high risk bugs that haven't been fixed, and Apple is trying to keep all of that information away from the people, so they keep believing in the "Apple Conspiracy Theory", which is the fact that Apples are the best computers; better then a PC (take a look at which is faster and more expendable: the answer is PC), and that they don't get viruses (Apples get 200-500 more Viruses than Linux), and that they can run Windows in Boot Camp (Apple is so m************ greedy that they posted "Thou shalt not install Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware". Guess what? I installed it on a PC, and it runs probably 4x faster then on the crappy Apple Hardware.) Besides, would you rather spend $900 on a top of the line PC, or 4-6,000 on a top of the line Mac? Especially when the PC has 2-3 more CPU cores, AND the base speed is higher, and on top of it all, it has a better graphics card, and more RAM.
|Comment #1.3 by: Bozzy on 11 Jan 2011, 16:04 GMT|
the only reason windows have to keep up with virus protection is because a lot more people use windows than linux or MAC! in fact i would say abour 80% of people use windows 19% use MAC and 1% use linux for day to day use. if you wanted to steal information from someone you would go for those 80% of people because you would end up with more information.
secondly, there are more easy available software's for creating anything you can think of on windows.
that is why MAC maybe more secure because no one really bothers with them and you can not get as many software's to create harmful applications.
|Comment #2 by: Jawshie on 28 Mar 2007, 20:41 UTC|| reply to this comment|
If you take a look at the structure of the OSs themselves it will become obvious that making a virus for such a thing would be extremely difficult. Most do not last long as it is. Since OS X and Linux are derived from Unix, they have a strong backbone.
I tell ya, if Windows were to remove all the backwards compatability and just make a completely new OS, not only would people adobt it but it could be very good if they made it the way it should be made. With the backwards compatability is where the real issue comes in. Vista has a good idea, just not the right way to implement it.
|Comment #3 by: Atli Þór on 12 Apr 2007, 17:19 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I have to agree with Sabotor78.
People that create viruses, like all other terrorists, are trying to maximise the ammount of damage they do.
For that reason Windows is by far the biggest target. Because of that Microsoft has had to deal with much much more than Linux or Apple have ever had to endure in regards to security.
As it stands right now, Windows XP or Vista, using any decent Antivirus software and just a small ammount of common sence on the users part will run virus free 99% of the time, which is a major acheivment for Microsoft considering the ammount of attacks aimed at it.
For years now Microsoft has been updating their security, which has forced terrorists to create smarter ways of breaking throught,
so I doublt very much either Apple or Linux could survive the threats Microsoft has to deal with, given how easy they have had it in the past.
|Comment #4 by: Dave on 11 Dec 2008, 09:06 UTC|| reply to this comment|
There are some good comments on this site. More people should be aware that the fact that Microsoft's Windows OS has more virus issues is NOT Microsoft's fault. I also agree that Linux and MacOS would both be in a tight spot indeed if they suddenly had to face all the attacks that the Windows OS comes into contact with.
I've never used the MacOS system other than a little playing around at the store from time to time. I'll never buy or support an OS that forces me to use a dedicated list of hardware such as provided by Apple. Granted, I don't think they use bad hardware or anything, I just don't like not having choices available to me. I should be able to use whatever graphics, sound, or other hardware that I want. Apple chooses not to support hardware that they have not "approved" for use on a Mac. Well, that means Apple won't get "approved" for my money.
I've used a few distributions of the Linux OS, and I think it's a very nice little OS. It is far from being ready for mainstream use, however. For grandmas or folks with little PC experience, I'd recommend Windows any day. At least that way, when they see some cookbook software for sale at the local electronics store, you're pretty much guaranteed that it'll work. Linux is coming along at a rapid pace though, and I really like the way it does a lot of things. I use a Linux OS on one of my PCs that I use for general web stuff (like right now), running Quicken (using Wine), and doing my email. My other system is WinXP Pro, Service Pack 3, and I use it for gaming and certain internet activities that don't work well with Linux. (Adobe Flash Player 10 will not install correctly on my Linux machine, and Flash 9 hangs the browser application after about 3 videos.) So, I do all my YouTube and other flash based stuff on my Windows machine. I still run antivirus software on both my Linux and Windows machines. (The same program, actually - Avast for Linux, and Avast for Windows.) Since I do a lot of web browsing with my Linux machine, even if a particular virus won't harm my Linux OS, I don't want my Linux machine being a "safe haven" for viruses that might potentially make their way onto my Windows machines where they COULD do some damage.
I've had bugs and glitches with both Windows and Linux, but considering all the stuff that both OSes can do, only a moron would expect either one to be perfect. I don't think Linux or Windows is better than the other in the general sense. Although, on the small things there are many things that would make me want one OS over the other, depending on what I wanted to do.
So, with all that said, considering what Linux and Windows can both do, I think both are good operating systems - that's why I use both.
|Comment #5 by: Gordi on 12 Dec 2008, 10:16 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I like the idea that Mac OSX or Linux would be in a tight spot if it had all these vulnerabilities.
The fact is, it will never happen. The problem is administrative accounts. If you download something nasty on Windows, it has as much access to the computer as you from the moment it runs. And what's more, Windows allows it to run completely in the background.
This just isn't possible with Mac OSX or Linux. And even if it ran, the worst it would be able to do was corrupt a few of your files in your user directory. That said, on Mac OSX you would have to type your password for it to start doing that. It's all about permissions.
Viruses aren't able to do any significant damage on Mac OSX or Linux because they can't access the root directory without the root password and lots of user confirmation. And since Mac OSX doesn't let the user anywhere near the root account, there aren't any mistakes to be made. The user can get on the root account but every file system window you open has a big red banner at the top telling you to be careful. There's none of that on Windows. Whatever you download has almost instant full access to the system registry, shell files, anything and everything. It's a free-for-all.
That is why Mac OSX and Linux will never be in a 'tight spot'.
|Comment #6 by: andrew on 14 Jan 2009, 18:15 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I think that windows is obviously a good choice but now with Linux and mac now competing as well, the choice becomes alot harder. My personal opinion is that windows or mac is one of the best, now I'm not total ruling out Linux, its just, it does have some flours. For example it doesn't support wifi internet (ubuntu). But i think mac has to be the overall winner, after all the windows vista design did come from mac.
The layout of mac is a lot easier and a lot more user friendly because everything you need is on the dock and a lot of the good software comes as standard.
The only downfall the mac (apple) have is their insane prices.
|Comment #6.1 by: Wesley on 28 May 2009, 00:56 GMT|
"now I'm not total ruling out Linux, its just, it does have some flours. For example it doesn't support wifi internet (ubuntu). "
You do know I am typing this on a Laptop running RHEL 5.3 right? What I mean is where is your source for "it doesnt support wifi internet"?
|Comment #7 by: naveen on 30 Aug 2009, 16:52 UTC|| reply to this comment|
microsoft is a giant player of the cmputer market....and 94% people in the world who r usin windows are not mad which may let u decide that it is not gud than mac os or linux........i agree with jawshie.....thee main problem with windows is viruses and crashes .....which is not with mac os or linux and this only due to unix background and windows cant adopt it not because of its compatibility problems for previous windows versions.......but if microsoft would want to build any os that doesn't care about its previous versions it will always be able to beat other players of the market as far as security and crase problems r conserned
|Comment #7.1 by: Osama the hiro on 12 Nov 2010, 15:33 GMT|
I think that the win is a SPY OS!!! Therefore the windows very dangerous for your privacy.
If you like to share by all people your private life you just buy windows!
The Microsoft an old spy company of the US government and it use to develop an illegal malware market to spy in your privacy.
If you aren't an idiot american average man you don't use the Microsoft products.
|Comment #8 by: UrbanHillbilly on 01 Mar 2010, 06:20 UTC|| reply to this comment|
The fact that few people run an anti-virus on a Mac or Linux machine doesn't say a lot; it says everything! Basing the security of OS's by the number of direct OS updates is meaningless.
The problem is that unless you can put a lot of money into a computer, you're going to buy a PC. Macs are overpriced, and a Linux machine generally has to be custom built. When people buy a computer, they just go down to the office supply or department store and plunk down a $300.00-400.00 and walk out with a new box. A comparable Linux system will cost twice that, and though lowest price Mac (Mini) is only 50% more, that thing is a joke of a computer.
If the issue was security, everyone would abandon MS, and buy anti-virus software for their alternative machines. The real devil in a MS OS is the registry. This part of the Windows kernal is where a simple instruction can be planted to load whatever program a hacker wants to use into the computer memory. It isn't simply that hackers attack PC's because they are popular, but they are also easier to attack. Of course, if other systems more popular, hackers would be more inventive, but it wouldn't be as easy.
The real question, is how much does Windows irritate you? Does it irritate you enough to throw the dice of Linux? You can go cheap by putting Linux on a PC that came with Windows, but there's no guarrenty it will work. On the other hand, you're going to have to shell out a lot of money on a custom built Linux machine or even more money on a decent Macintosh.
|Comment #8.1 by: Morley on 29 Jul 2010, 18:21 GMT|
"a Linux machine generally has to be custom built."
"A comparable Linux system will cost twice that"
You are aware that you can buy nearly any computer out there, and put nearly any flavor of Linux on it, right? You would be hard pressed to find a computer made in the last 5 years that couldn't have Linux installed on it, for free and within 15 minutes. You know absolutely nothing about this issue if you think you have to buy a "Linux system" to use Linux. Just buy the $300-$400 computer, take it home, install the distro of your choice, and enjoy the most advanced operating system on earth within minutes, at zero cost.
|Comment #9 by: the comments dont lie! on 11 Jun 2010, 08:08 UTC|| reply to this comment|
my 1st comment may have bin a bit aggressive... but then again everything i said in that comment was "generally explained with less (quite a lot less actually) detail.... but from these comments.... all the ones supporting windows.... specify that windows is better... and if you wana truly find out which is better.... simply google the sales... and even if the buyer thinks mac or linux is better if they are running windows on more systems in their own home where mac is the dream standard.... it proves to everyone else even to themselves(somewhere deep inside)
that windows is better otherwise they would never have bought it... its better cuz of
2: hard compatibility
7: game makers have the easiest time making games for this system which means more games and a better gaming experience if your a gamer!
8: easy for old ladies to use! (thnx ever made the comment regarding this!)
9:flash player 10.1
11:the amount of viruses available for windows is irrelevant if your computer savvy! and intelligent (common sense is more important) and if you don't browse any kind of offensive content or pirate or do anything at alll... ANYTHING I MEAN ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!! that is shady over the net... (i use windows and ive never used a viruses scanner and i've never had any problems my windows is working 100% for the past 5 years (never 1 time thought about virus scanning software!!!!! *cuz it slows my computer down crazy!*) not 1 glitch i play diablo 2 play doom 1 2 mmos download music im a computer maniac with no life *Proud of it!!* my life is my computer! never formated my drive 1 time in 5 years (that was when i was 15 im 20 now =])
12: THE LIST GOES ON........
|Comment #10 by: MICHAEL on 18 Jul 2010, 18:35 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Well there are some good things one can learn from these threads and all of them are really instructive. As a novice to the Linux world and being about to switch to this OS i am no longer worrying about a virus or a bug. I think microsoft has implemented the bugs in its OS because as someone puts it it's a cow share. The stronger you pull the better you get. let's consider the Palladium version of microsoft. It was built with a spy software you can never remove because you can't access the source code and it's designed to report what software you have installed on the hard drive. God only knows if they could access personal data. It means no privacy at all. For the Mac platform, everybody knows it's a closed architecture and though security issues is not a major problem, hardware is. You are limited in the choice of software you have to use and Like Windows there might be a spy software. it's called treacherous computing.
The Linux OS I'm using is Mandriva and Artistx distributions both of which I was tearing my hair why I did not know earlier about them. Artistx is my preferd set. I find everything I could work with. No bug. No trojan. No alerts. No virus signature. No send report. No Media player codecs missing. No RAM "eating".
|Comment #11 by: Tom on 07 Nov 2010, 06:11 UTC|| reply to this comment|
To remain PCs fast, you have to increase a lot of memory, Macs, although they have far less products to sell, this can be a disadvantage, but for beginners, who don't know how to choose computers, Mac will be the greatest choice, PCs have a lot of good things but a lot of basic things as well, while the limited numbers of Macs, they are basically all the same.
If you like your friends Mac, you can easily find the exactly Mac in the store, while PCs, are 'explodingly' increasing, customers can hardly find the exactly same product.
A lot of things isn't ALWAYS good, it might be, but not always.
|Comment #12 by: Jad Jabbour on 10 Dec 2010, 08:34 UTC|| reply to this comment|
well, i stumbled on this article while trying to find the market share of OSes in 2010, and i am glad i did.
for starters, people , i mean you "the comments dont lie!", who compare OSes based on SALES should probably sell their brains, altho they wont go for much i assure you.
Windows is a COMMERCIAL OS easy to use , multipurposed and effective HOWEVER it is very dangerous, unstable, and INTOLERABLE. they CLAIM customizability but come on, when it comes to that everyone knows that Linux is the beast of customized OS.
am not guna talk about macs.... they are stupid multimedia driven OSes which are easily, and cheaply replaces with a BETTER multimedia OS called ARTISTX (linux)
ps: you cannot compare sales you ignorant fool because LINUX OSes ( except for redhat) are FOR FREE
and if you ARE to compare SEVER OSes Sales, you will find that RHEL and WINDOWS SERVERs are pretty close in numbers
|Comment #13 by: some1 educated on 14 Sep 2011, 23:54 UTC|| reply to this comment|
you cant say one OS is better then the other off of one thing, there are very many different things in all three, and one might be better then the other at one thing, but not the other. If you think you can say which is better just buy sales, or security, then your as ignorant as they come, you have to chose which is best for your personally. There is no "one perfect" OS that does everything in the world, so you might have to sacrifice something to get what you need. So therefore each OS is better then the other at something, but not everything.
|Comment #14 by: kevin.the.man on 03 Sep 2012, 00:50 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Have you ever gotten a cold, or bacterial flu? Good, that means your a"live". Sounds familiar to windows live, huh.... A rock doesn't get colds.
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