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Why Unix based Operating Systems are more secure than Windows Why Unix based Operating Systems are more secure than Windows     (Back to list)
Posted by Peter (1) on 2007-Aug-20   10:07

In the film “War of the Worlds” the invading aliens are defeated not by human technology but by Earth bound viruses. So, if an advanced alien culture can be defeated by such humble creatures how could we have survived for so long ? The answer is simple, we grew up with those same viruses and had to learn to develop immunities in order to survive. I think this analogy works quite well with computer operating systems (OS) especially if they are connect to the Internet.

Its possible to trace the “bloodline” of current versions of Microsoft (MS) Windows right back to the earliest versions of MS-DOS. This system had no built-in networking capabilities or multi-tasking which meant it was normally used by one person at a time in isolation. Security and reliability weren't major concerns on those machines. At that same time, most Unix systems were already networked and serviced many users simultaneously so reliability and security would have been major concerns. Because of these features, Unix based machines were the best choice to develop and deploy the new Internet on.

Roll forward to the current day and what do we find ? Millions of compromised Windows machines spewing out spam, viruses and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks while their owners wonder why the hell they should pay for firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware software or to have their machines disinfected yet again. Meanwhile, the owners of Unix based machines (Mac OSX, Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc) get on with their work and wonder what all the fuss is about.

To Microsoft's credit, they have made later versions of Window quite secure but they should have done that years ago because it will take a long time for the older, less-secure Windows machines to be replaced.

In the film, it took a while for the viruses to infect and kill the alien invaders who had no time to evolve any kind of defence, but the computing world evolves much faster so, perhaps there is still hope for Windows yet !


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