Last Updated on April 9, 2022
More people than ever use Linux. While Windows and macOS still capture most of the market, nearly 2% of all computers use the operating system. While that may not seem like a lot, the usage share has grown immensely over the last few years.
While only 2% of desktop computers use the operating systems, 96.5% of the world’s top million domains are powered by Linux servers. That’s because there’s a lot to love about Linux.
But is Linux safer than macOS and Windows?
In some ways, yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s not without its vulnerabilities. Learn about the security of Linux and how you can protect yourself regardless of which distro you use.
Security Pro Tip: The easiest way to improve your cybersecurity regardless of your OS is with a VPN. VPNs protect your internet connection and hide your IP address. While it doesn’t protect from malware, it enhances your privacy.
Linux vs. Windows vs. macOS Security
Everyone has heard the widespread and false idea that “Macs can’t get hacked.” It isn’t true. But since so many more people use Windows than macOS, hackers don’t target Macs as much.
The same logic also applies to Linux. Make no mistake — hackers do target Linux and macOS, just not as often.
Each operating system has its pros and cons:
- Apple has excellent built-in system protection tools.
- Linux has a safe sandboxing (program) design environment.
- Windows has powerful built-in antivirus features.
However, each OS may not score as highly in other areas.
There’s one more misconception to clear up. Many people think Linux is more secure because it is open source. Unfortunately, it isn’t true, either. There have been plenty of issues, including privilege escalation vulnerabilities, that went undetected by the Linux user base.
Operating System is Not Guarantee for Security
The truth is that there is no such thing as a bulletproof operating system. It’s up to the end-user to ensure security.
And there’s one more vital point to remember. Most cyber-attacks occur via the internet, so it doesn’t matter what type of OS you have because this is where you are most vulnerable.
With that in mind, here’s what you can do to increase your cybersecurity:
1. Use a VPN
As mentioned, VPNs encrypt your connection and hide your IP address. That’s how privacy-conscious Linux users can prevent many forms of online tracking.
Besides its privacy benefits, a VPN can protect your device and data from fake WiFi hotspots and man-in-the-middle attacks.
2. Increase Account Security
Online accounts are the most prominent target of hackers. Secure yours with random, unique, and complicated passwords if you haven’t already.
Always opt for multi-factor authentication. It creates an extra layer of security and provides notifications anytime somebody attempts to access one of your accounts.
To remember all your passwords, considering using a password manager.
3. Learn to Recognize Phishing Attempts
91% of hacks start with an email. You need to know what phishing attacks look like to prevent falling victim to it.
Phishing attacks can take many forms, so always keep a vigilant eye on your inbox. Never click on anything, even from a trusted sender, without verifying the contents of a file or link first.
4. Enable Firewalls
Firewalls are an effective way to regulate the traffic on your network. You can customize them to block ads, create sandboxing environments, block programs, set restrictions, and more.
5. Protect Your Browsing
Have you ever wondered why you see an advertisement on Facebook for a product you searched on Amazon? With the help of cookies, marketers create retargeting campaigns. It’s just one example of the trackers that follow you around the web.
While cookies from advertisers may be innocent, hackers and other snoops can also take advantage of them. Therefore, from time to time, you should clear your browsing history and cookies. Moreover, always block third-party cookies and use a privacy-centric web browser.
The Bottom Line
Linux is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to improve their cybersecurity. But there are more things to consider using as most threats don’t discriminate against any operating systems.