What Is Linux and Is It Really Secure?
For decades, the Linux group of operating systems has won the admiration of tech professionals for its simplicity and functionality. First developed in the early 1990s, it's a computer operating system like Windows.
As software that controls a system's hardware resources, it's a popular choice for running web servers. Unlike Windows, Linux is open source software, which means it's freely available to everyone.
A Kernel of Truth
Linux is essentially a "kernel," which is a core component in an operating system that controls the CPU, memory, and peripherals on a computer. Often considered to have a "stripped down" user interface — without all the user-focused bells and whistles — it's designed purely to be functional and allow users a large degree of control over their hardware.
Customizable and Flexible
Traditional Linux fans believe it offers a much easier method of controlling hardware due to the existence of "the shell" — the Linux command line that allows users to control their computers by typing commands into a text interface.
However, modern versions of Linux have much more sophisticated user interfaces, meaning traditional command line interaction doesn't have to be used.
Customizing Linux is also possible by using different desktop environments. Although other operating systems tend to have bespoke desktops, there are many that can be adopted for use with Linux.
From its very inception, security has been a cornerstone of the Linux operating system. Each user has to be walled off from others, and a password and user ID are required for an individual to use Linux.
Users also have lower automatic access rights, which makes it harder for them to perpetuate the spread of malware by accessing a wide range of files on the computer.
The open source format with many different operating environments, system architectures, and components — such as different email clients — also makes it more difficult for malware to sweep through it.
Linux has multiple advantages when it comes to security, but no operating system is totally secure. One issue currently facing Linux is its growing popularity.
For years, Linux was primarily used by a smaller, more tech-centric demographic. Now, its increasing use opens it up to the age-old problem of more users leading to an increased risk for malware infestations.
Malware already exists that is designed especially for Linux. Erebus ransomware is one example, and the Tsunami backdoor has also caused problems for users over the last few years.