Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter

Why Linux is More Secure Than Windows

Linux powers 95% of web and still proven to be one of the most secure operating systems, here's why.

Share your love

Linux and Windows are extreme opposites in terms of software availability and security. And if you are into tech, you’d be aware of the fact that Linux is more secure than Windows.

If you choose Windows, you get millions of packages, the largest community of users and an overall easy-to-use operating system compared to Linux.

But the question is should you sacrifice security for better software availability? And if we were to go with Linux, how secure it will be compared to Windows?

Afraid not, I’ll answer all your queries in a moment.

Table of Contents

Windows Security Challenges

If you’re looking to cause trouble, or especially to make money, you’re going to go for the largest target and that’s Windows.

With the largest share of the desktop market, it’s the biggest and most lucrative target for cybercriminals. Even if you find a security vulnerability and send a patch to all Windows users, there’s no way you can guarantee that each user will install the patch immediately.  

Furthermore, there are default Windows settings, like giving users admin access and enabling autorun features, which can also be exploited by malware if not configured properly.

Apart from design flaws, the most critical part which can not be fixed (even if they want to) is dealing with security flaws present installation of third-party packages. Windows is famous for offering millions of packages and that itself is the biggest security flaw.

How? Because unlike Linux where packages are scanned for vulnerabilities, on Windows, you are on your own.

Here are four important points which make Windows more vulnerable than Linux:

  • Default users have admin rights unless explicitly configured.
  • The majority of Windows network services operate under admin privileges which itself is a threat.
  • Windows cares a lot about backwards compatibility and deprecates older (likely vulnerable) protocols at an incredibly slow pace.
  • Windows cares a lot about convenience, and this means less security.

What Linux has to offer?

There are various reasons why Linux is considered more secure than Windows. Everything from the core to package management was written for stability and security.

Linux’s security module framework allows for the implementation of Mandatory Access Control (MAC) systems like SELinux and AppArmor. These provide granular, policy-based access control that goes far beyond Windows’ discretionary access control and offer system-wide security policies that can’t be overridden by users.

Furthermore, the Linux kernel’s seccomp (secure computing mode) feature allows processes to voluntarily restrict their system call abilities which significantly reduces the attack surface. This level of syscall filtering is not available in Windows.

Linux distributions often employ advanced package signing and verification systems. For example, Debian’s apt uses strong cryptographic signing for all packages, making it extremely difficult to introduce malicious software through official repositories – a level of repository security not matched in Windows.

Also, the ability to compile a custom kernel in Linux allows for the removal of unnecessary drivers and features, drastically reducing the attack surface. This level of core system customization is not possible in Windows.

On the networking side, Linux’s eBPF (extended Berkeley Packet Filter) technology allows for safe, efficient system observability and networking capabilities without making any changes to the kernel or loading kernel modules. This provides powerful security monitoring and enforcement capabilities not available in Windows.

The proc filesystem in Linux provides a deep, transparent view of the system and process information. This allows for more comprehensive system monitoring and intrusion detection. Windows lacks an equivalent feature with this level of detail and accessibility.

In terms of recovery, Linux’s support for advanced filesystem features like copy-on-write (as in Btrfs or ZFS) allows for instant snapshots and rollbacks. This provides robust protection against ransomware and other forms of data corruption that Windows’ NTFS can’t match.

Last but not least, the ability to run Linux entirely from RAM (as with live systems) provides a highly secure, non-persistent environment that leaves no trace on the hardware. While Windows has some limited live system capabilities, they’re not as comprehensive or widely used as in Linux.

Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at historical data.

Historical Casualties: Linux vs Windows

While Linux is generally considered more secure, both operating systems have had their share of high-profile security incidents over the years. Some notable examples:

  • In 2003, the SQL Slammer worm infected Windows systems worldwide, significantly slowing down internet traffic.
  • The Ramen worm in 2001 was one of the first to target Linux systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in Red Hat Linux 6.2 and 7.0.
  • In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack famously exploited a Windows SMB vulnerability to impact hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries.
  • The Wirenet and Darlloz worms targeted Linux systems in 2013 and 2014 respectively, focusing on IoT devices with default credentials

However, security experts believe that Linux sees fewer total malware threats compared to Windows. In 2022, AV-TEST Institute registered over 62 million new Windows malware samples compared to under 1 million for Linux. So while Linux is not immune to malware, the scale of threats is orders of magnitude lower.


While the debate between Linux and Windows security rages on, most in the tech community give Linux the advantage. Its open-source code, user permissions model, diversity of distributions, and integrated security features make it inherently resistant to many common threats.

However, the real-world security of any operating system depends heavily on proper configuration and a security-conscious user at the helm.

With a wealth of perspectives from Reddit, forums, and security experts to draw upon, one thing is clear – there’s no room for complacency when it comes to cybersecurity, no matter which operating system you choose

Share your love

A tech journalist whose life revolves around networks.

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter

Stay informed and not overwhelmed, subscribe now!