Report: Windows Security Beats Linux - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Report: Windows Security Beats Linux

The report was Microsoft-funded, but researchers are providing the full methodology and challenging Linux advocates to prove them wrong.

In addition, Thompson admitted that the vulnerability counts lumped together the vulnerabilities found in Linux, as well as add-on open source software for the Apache web server, PHP scripting platform, and MySQL database. The report mentioned, though, that MySQL had five vulnerabilities that took more than 90 days to fix.

One critic of the report said it's difficult to measure the relative severity of vulnerabilities.

"There are so many ways to rate vulnerabilities and severities," said Johannes Ullrich, chief technology officer of the SANS Internet Storm Center, a service that reports on security vulnerabilities. "It's hard to come to up with an objective measure."

He also noted that a complete Linux distribution comes with a greater variety of software than Windows, making it larger, more complex, and more prone to vulnerabilities.

And the skills of the person running the system is extremely important to measuring how secure that system is, Ullrich added, "No operating system is secure unless you know how to apply the patches, configure the passwords, and disable services you don't need. You can't rely on a single security measure. You have to use firewalls and such to build up layered defenses. If you don't do that right, any operating system is vulnerable," he said.

Thompson expects he and his co-researcher will face charges of bias on behalf of Microsoft due to the company's funding of the study. "One of the big issues was to get the methodology out there. We knew people would question the results because of Microsoft's involvement in funding," he said.

He and Ford submitted their research proposal to Microsoft, Microsoft evaluated the proposal, and decided to fund it. Thompson said the researchers also sent the methodology to various analysts, including Charles Kolodgy of IDC, and had it vetted by various academics as well as people at the RSA Conference. ."

Asked if the study would have been published if the results had come out in favor of Linux, Thompson responded, "They certainly gave us input but I'm sure the results would ultimately have been published no matter what the outcome was."

In the report, the researchers cited an earlier study by Forrester Research that also attracted a fair amount of criticism from Linux proponents. Thompson expects to hear reaction from them again. "I'm sure we'll get a fair amount of creative input based on who funded this study," he said. He pointed out, however, that Security Innovation has a wide range of clients, including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and IBM, and his aim was to encourage feedback from the technology community about how the methodology can be optimized for future studies. "Certainly I hope that when the criticism comes, it comes on the methodology and our acts instead of loud commentary on who funded this particular study," he said.

While the current study examines Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux in Web server configurations, Thompson and Ford plan to conduct future comparisons of database server and workstation roles.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
News
IT Spending Forecast: Unfortunately, It's Going to Hurt
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/15/2020
Commentary
Helping Developers and Enterprises Answer the Skills Dilemma
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/19/2020
Slideshows
Top 10 Programming Languages in Demand Right Now
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  4/28/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll