When talking about operating systems, it is obvious that the first that comes to mind are the Windows series of systems, by far the most used nowadays at home and, despite popular belief, Windows systems are actually very secure and, according to studies, Windows systems have proven to be more secure than GNU/Linux distributions, something that for most is unthinkable, so in this article we will review why Windows can (in many situations) become more secure than other operating systems.
Windows is most used
To begin with, Windows is the most widely used operating system at a domestic level, and generally the public that uses Windows is a non-technical public, since the ease of use provided by this operating system and, above all, the high compatibility with drivers and third-party software (unlike GNU/Linux distributions) means that most users who are not necessarily interested in using an operating system for anything other than domestic use, opt for it.
This situation means that many cybercriminals, knowing that the public that uses Windows is not technical and possibly not aware of cybersecurity (hence the importance of training users about this), find it very easy to target this series of operating systems, creating more malware compatible with them, This indirectly leads to the existence of many more malwares for Windows than for other operating systems, in addition to the constant search for security flaws in the operating system itself, since, if a cybercriminal manages to find a critical 0day, he/she can affect millions of users.
Therefore, it is more economically profitable for the bad guys to invest time in attacking Windows than other distributions, because that is where the people are, and this means that Microsoft pays much more attention to the security of Windows systems, so that security flaws are much more frequently detected and repaired in these systems than in others.
In fact, according to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Vulnerability Database, Windows is the most secure system today.
Less malware on Linux
As we mentioned before, Windows being a series of operating systems oriented to home use (leaving aside the Windows Server versions) this causes that more people use them and, consequently they are more attacked by cybercriminals, now, if we talk about GNU/Linux distributions it changes a lot, although Linux is more used than Windows at enterprise level, there are really few cases where you will see a Linux distribution used by a person who is not dedicated to computer science.
And yes, there are distributions oriented to people with zero technical knowledge like Ubuntu, Lubuntu or Linux Mint that are really used by this niche of people, but they are very punctual cases, really using any Linux distro for someone who is not into computing can be tedious, apart from the possible incompatibility with drivers and that the main third party software are not available for this series of operating systems natively, also taking into account that the vast majority of distros are open source and are maintained only by their community, not by a solid company that supports them, this causing that not all security flaws can be detected by their side, but that independent with unknown intentions, to review the system code to detect these bugs and do with that information what they want, which does not happen in Windows systems to be proprietary code.
However, the fact that Linux is open source has its advantages in terms of security, since, if a distro can be analyzed by tens of thousands of people, there are obviously many more probabilities of finding security flaws than in the case of Windows systems, whose code can only be analyzed by Microsoft employees assigned to that task.
So, although the community of GNU/Linux-loving users is quite large, the home use of these distributions does not compare at all with the use of Windows systems (at home) and, therefore, cybercriminals will invest little or no time in developing malware for these distributions, because there are basically fewer potential victims, even though most GNU/Linux distributions tend to come with stricter security settings than in Windows systems.
En conclusión, no hay que tener fanatismo por ningún sistema, hay que entender cómo opera el mundo y adaptarse a él, tanto los sistemas Windows como las distribuciones de GNU/Linux bien configurados y con todo su código actualizado, representan un nivel aceptable de seguridad, pero la seguridad siempre empieza y acaba en cada usuario, por lo que, independientemente del sistema que uses, debes priorizar el sentido común y tener buenas practicas a la hora de usar cualquier sistema operativo.