header image
The world according to David Graham

Topics

acva bili chpc columns committee conferences elections environment essays ethi faae foreign foss guelph hansard highways history indu internet leadership legal military money musings newsletter oggo pacp parlchmbr parlcmte politics presentations proc qp radio reform regs rnnr satire secu smem statements tran transit tributes tv unity

Recent entries

  1. Trump will win in 2020 (and keep an eye on 2024)
  2. A podcast with Michael Geist on technology and politics
  3. Next steps
  4. On what electoral reform reforms
  5. 2019 Fall campaign newsletter / infolettre campagne d'automne 2019
  6. 2019 Summer newsletter / infolettre été 2019
  7. 2019-07-15 SECU 171
  8. 2019-06-20 RNNR 140
  9. 2019-06-17 14:14 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  10. 2019-06-17 SECU 169
  11. 2019-06-13 PROC 162
  12. 2019-06-10 SECU 167
  13. 2019-06-06 PROC 160
  14. 2019-06-06 INDU 167
  15. 2019-06-05 23:27 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  16. 2019-06-05 15:11 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  17. 2019-06-04 INDU 166
  18. 2019-06-03 SECU 166
  19. 2019 June newsletter / infolettre juin 2019
  20. 2019-05-30 RNNR 137
  21. 2019-05-30 PROC 158
  22. 2019-05-30 INDU 165
  23. 2019-05-29 SECU 165
  24. 2019-05-29 ETHI 155
  25. 2019-05-28 ETHI 154
  26. 2019-05-28 ETHI 153
  27. 2019-05-27 ETHI 151
  28. 2019-05-27 SECU 164
  29. 2019-05-17 10:59 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  30. 2019-05-16 ETHI 150
  31. older entries...

Proven: Windows is more secure than Linux out of the box

After years of petty squabbling between the most innovative company in the software industry and a few pesky upstart hippie developers over which of their operating systems is more secure, the verdict is finally in. Microsoft's flagship Windows software is more secure than Linux. You can demonstrate this for yourself just as we did.

Most consumer Linux distributions come in both downloadable and boxed versions. Similarly, Windows may come either pre­installed or in a box. For purposes of comparison, we will consider only the boxed sets.

Operating system boxes, whether Linux or Windows, typically contain one or more CDs, a manual, and licensing information. Linux CDs often come in a paper envelope and can be removed and directly inserted into a computer. Windows boxes, however, come with a certificate of authenticity that Linux distributions lack. You are meant to remove the certificate of authenticity from the box and carefully scrutinise it to ensure that it is legitimate. In other words, if the features of the certificate match the description of the features of the certificate, then the software in the box is most likely genuine.

This extra security is invaluable in protecting Windows software from many of the evils that can plague a computer once it is set up.

In contrast to the flimsy paper envelope holding the Linux CD, the Windows CD is typically in a plastic case that is secured shut with a label that warns you to be sure you are in compliance with the licensing terms found elsewhere in the box before opening it. This security seal is designed to prevent worms from getting into the CD case and infecting your Windows installation before it is installed, and is an invaluable security asset.

Clearly Windows has the edge in physical security, but what happens after you slide each CD into the computer?

Once the Linux distribution CD has finished installing, the computer requests that a superuser and regular user account be created by the person. This obvious lack of security involved in having more than one user on a computer that can be logged in simultaneously has driven Linux into relative obscurity.

The Windows CD, at a similar point, demonstrates its superior security again. As the Windows installation process begins, it insists that a serial number be entered before continuing. Without this vital secret information, you can not continue installing. Most new Windows users are not aware that a Web search using the now­functional Linux box will turn up valid serial numbers, so this bit of security is the most powerful defence of all against unwanted back­doors in a Windows computer.

Once installed, Windows can easily be set up to connect to the Internet and be used to browse the Web, check email, and run productivity software without any flaws, and unlike the insecure hacker operating system Linux, will quickly and without complaint run any software offered it from any Web site or email attachment as requested.

We are forced to admit that, with the use of certificates, stickers, and serial numbers, Windows vastly outpaces Linux security out of the box.

Originally posted to Linux.com 2004-03-21; reposted here 2019-11-23.

Posted at 20:33 on March 21, 2004

This entry has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.

March 16th, 2004 (from Advogato) | foss satire | Linus ends free lunch

(RSS) Website generating code and content © 2001-2020 David Graham <david@davidgraham.ca>, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Comments are © their respective authors.