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Old 03-01-2012, 04:15 PM   #1
jdr97
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Please clarify for newbie: compare Linux and Windows security


Hi, will you, please, make basic comparison of the security Linux vs Windows, if following conditions are met:

1. Both desktop, not server; both behind router in home LAN, wired.
2. Both operate from limited user account.
3. Both have strong password.
4. Windows 7 has installed Comodo Internet Security (firewall, antivirus and defense) in Proactive mode, requests for authorizing actions not disabled, Firefox browser, remote access services and sharing not allowed.

Linux could be any distribution, suitable for non-programmer, without messing with defaults, apart from installing firewall gui, blocking all incoming and allow all outcoming traffic, installing fail2ban, clamAV, and removing unused programs through software manager. Firefox browser too. No involvement with terminal commands, using menus only.

Will they be equally protected? Within specifics of each OS, of course.

Don't get irritated, please, by my question. I'm relatively new and basic user of Linux (no typing commands in terminal for me yet, only using functions available through menus), who is trying to migrate to Linux from Windows 7.

I have few months experience with previous Kubuntu on desktop PC, around one year with Puppeee on netbook, and have nothing but troubles trying to install any new distribution on desktop PC, where Windows 7 was installed without problems. This is not a shared installation, there are independent hard drives, turnable on and off, one at the time, depending on system required this time.

I'm trying to migrate to Linux, and will continue to work around installation problems, if it worth the troubles.

So far computer people in my family, who assisted me with computer hardware and watched Linux installation, scream to high heavens that it's not secure and I should return to Windows.

Distributions I tried to install, from .iso of live CD: Kununtu, Ununtu, Mint, Mandriva, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, OpenSUSE, Saline OS, RacyPuppy. Only last two passed installation without problems, but they have limitations and I'm trying different distros now.

Thank you for being considerate to my problem.
 
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
snowpine
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Here is a great introduction to the security features of Linux (with a comparison to Windows):

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=510812

Remember that "security" is a meaningless concept in a vacuum. Security from what or whom? What are your specific security concerns? Are you currently being targeted and if so what is the nature of the attack?

At the end of the day, the user is the biggest security flaw. The operating system is irrelevant if the user is tricked into revealing passwords, banking info, personal data, etc. Both Windows and Linux can be very secure in the hands of a skilled system administrator. Based on your bullet points 1-4 I'd say you have a good grasp of the important factors.
 
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:42 PM   #3
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdr97 View Post
Hi, will you, please, make basic comparison of the security Linux vs Windows
security of a system is always a relative assessment, and subject to the way it's being used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdr97 View Post
if following conditions are met:

1. Both desktop, not server; both behind router in home LAN, wired.
2. Both operate from limited user account.
3. Both have strong password.
4. Windows 7 has installed Comodo Internet Security (firewall, antivirus and defense) in Proactive mode, requests for authorizing actions not disabled, Firefox browser, remote access services and sharing not allowed.
Under these assumptions, I think there's not much of a difference between the two, if security means vulnerability by an evil outside intruder.
But in Windows, the real danger comes from the system itself. Each update is a potential security issue, because you don't know what is being updated and how. And very often, multiple updates are incompatible with each other and thus impair the stability and reliability of the system.
The company I work for as a freelancer is using Windows 7 on all office PCs, and their admins usually deploy Windows updates when they're available. But almost every week they have to roll back one or two updates that conflict with some other software, like Microsoft Office.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdr97 View Post
Don't get irritated, please, by my question. I'm relatively new and basic user of Linux (no typing commands in terminal for me yet, only using functions available through menus), who is trying to migrate to Linux from Windows 7.
Alright, go ahead! Windows 7 was the final cause that migrated me away from Microsoft. I'm still using Windows 2000 on one PC (because its robust and reliable) and XP on another (because Linux support for my DVB-C card is a disaster), but I'm not gonna get my hands dirty with Windows 7 except for testing purposes.
And I've never had any security or stability issue with neither Win2k nor WinXP. It's the way you use it. Use it cautiously, and don't install every Windows update just because it's there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdr97 View Post
I have few months experience with previous Kubuntu on desktop PC
I've never been able to make friends with KDE. I remember trying Kubuntu 10.10 as a live system, and I spent about 15 minutes searching how to start a program or how to shut down the system correctly. I didn't succeed with neither objective, and so that was yet another negative attempt at KDE.

I wish you all the best in your battle against Windows. And against KDE.

[X] Doc CPU

Last edited by Doc CPU; 03-01-2012 at 05:30 PM.
 
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:59 AM   #4
jdr97
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Thank you both!

Looks like I'm on a right way and will continue trying different distros, until I find one that agrees with my hardware and me as a user, while keeping Windows on a separate drive as an indicator that it is not a hardware fault and as a temporary working OS.
 
Old 03-03-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
Skaperen
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Any OS is completely and totally insecure if improperly used. A lot of the security (and privacy) issues have nothing to do with what the OS does. I could offer you a problem to download to harden your security and perhaps trick you into downloading it, installing it, and running it. What if the real thing the program does is collect all your files, send them to me, and erase them? No OS choice will make any difference unless it happens to be one that interferes with your wishes, and you'd probably move to something else if that was the case.

BTW, this is a problem being seen in the Android smartphone arena right now. Too many people are too "app happy".
 
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