Linux security: tips from the experts

Friday, 31 October 2003, 1:06 PM EST

Is Linux more secure than Windows, or vice versa? Fueled by conflicting industry reports, this controversy keeps raging. To arrive at a well-informed opinion on the subject, you need to know as much as you can about what kinds of security measures are actually available for Linux. Moreover, if you're administering Linux already, some implementation tips from Linux security pros can undoubtedly come in handy.

"It's hard to talk about 'Linux' as an operating system, since there are so many different variations. A number of different OSes — such as FreeBSD, VMS, mainframe OSes like VM or VSE, or other proprietary OSes — may lay claim to the title of 'most secure OS,'" observes Pete Lindstrom, CISSP, research director for Spire Security, LLC.

"The truth is that we don't, as a community, attempt to figure out which OS is most secure. We rely on an 'unpopularity' contest to figure that out. Popularity is a fickle thing, though. Right now, Linux has some momentum in security over Microsoft's OS family, but that can change quickly."

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