I have no idea if Linux is more secure than windows.

I think Linux is more secure but I want to know what is going at kernel level. Somebody told me that Linux have only one main kernel and has it root password on it. Is it true? I Google it and I found many confusing answers :

  1. Linux does not run .exe (executable files) unlike Windows , so disallowing most of the viruses to run in the system, as most of the virus files in .exe extension.
  2. Linux has two types of passwords: Administrator Password and Root Password thus creating firewall for anonymous users to get into the hard disk.
  3. 3.Windows have more kernels than Linux(It has a single main kernel , I heard), thus allowing chances of attack in different sub-kernels in Windows.

Are the above statements true? If you can throw some light on the third point i.e. why Linux is having a single main kernel unlike Windows. Is really the single main kernel that is making it secure?

  • 1
    Doesn't seem like a duplicate of that question to me... since there are specific questions relating to the difference between Linux and Windows. – dudebrobro Aug 16 '13 at 18:48
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    I agree that is not duplicate like second point is asking why linux access control is better than windows and third point asking for architectural differences – Ali Ahmad Aug 16 '13 at 18:54
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    Headline question has been covered before. The the individual questions could be asked separately but question 1 is pointless, 2 is just plain wrong, and 3 isn't really a security question. – Rory Alsop Aug 16 '13 at 20:24
  • @RoryAlsop I see your point. – dudebrobro Aug 17 '13 at 18:03
  • This is one of those questions that often leads to faith based discussion. It's also massively duplicate as this probably is one of the first questions asked in these venues. EXE files are Windows executables and will never run on Linux, but then Linux executables don't run on Windows. Wow, safety by cross platform... – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 16:11

In some areas, it has better approaches to security. Overall, pretty much the same. If you behave insecurely, you'll get compromised, Windows or Linux. It's just that there are more people using Windows than Linux, so it's a less desirable target for opportunistic attackers.

A determined attacker coming after you, will come after you and get you, no matter what you're using.

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  • In support of your answer and at the peril of causing faith based replies, most of the compromises on the planet are on Linux based servers. The operating system does not confer security on the applications running there-on, so is the operating system an enabler for poor software? The same conclusion can be drawn about all the OS environments out there in that case. – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 19:24
  • Linux does not make distinctions on files based on file extension as Windows does.

Any file can be executable if it has the user has permissions to execute said file, so it's possible to embed malicious code an any kind of file that could be processed.It the file itself is executable or if the goal is to attack a process that will consume the file and try to exploit it and have a malicious payload get executed.

  • Linux has only one kernel probably for the sake of simplicity and minimizing attack surface.

While there is not necessarily anything wrong with having multiple kernels, per say it makes the OS more complex and potentially more difficult to secure since there are more viable targets that an attacker could attempt to exploit. Linux also gives the user freedom to do virtually anything with their machine up to and including modifying the kernel and OS as they see fit, and there are packages and open source projects aimed at security to add additional layers of security to Linux in different areas from, LSM (Linux Security Modules), to cryptography, firewall extensions etc. As Adnan mentioned there are some better security approaches to some aspects of Linux in comparison but the same can be said of Windows in some respects.

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  • I want to know what is the thing in Linux that is making more secure than windows? – Sahil Aug 17 '13 at 16:38
  • Saying that Linux is definitively more secure than Windows to me would seem bias. If you take a vanilla Linux distro and a vanilla Windows machine and exposed them to attackers they would both be exploited. They can both be hardened to different degrees as well. The OSes also have different architectures. It would be hard to identify one single feature that makes Linux "more secure" than windows... If anything the perception that Linux is more secure comes from the fact that Windows is more targeted by attackers again as state by Adnan in his answer. – dudebrobro Aug 17 '13 at 17:58

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