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Symantec: Windows is Most Secure OS

Illustration for article titled Symantec: Windows is Most Secure OS

In a report that surprises even the PC lovers around here (read: me), Symantec has listed Microsoft Windows as the most secure OS out there. They claim that Windows had the fewest number of patches and the shortest patch development time of any OS, including Mac, Red Hat Linux, Solaris, and HP-UX (any HP-UX fanboys in the house?).

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So what in the hell is going on? We've been spoon-fed all this data that says Windows is about as secure as a screen door while Macs are perfectly safe, yet OS X came in 3rd in the report (behind Linux, which came in 2nd). At first we figured Symantec must just be really biased, as they sell PC software, but when you think about it, it's in their best interest to have people think that PCs are vulnerable so they think they need Symantec's software. And furthermore, Symantec sued Microsoft last year, so it's not like they're best buds.

Maybe it's… true? Something tells me that if this report included Internet Explorer as part of the Windows OS it would be a lot different, but for us Windows users that use Firefox it's nice to know we aren't just asking to get H4X0Red every time we go online.

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Internet News [via Digg]

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DISCUSSION

Taking a closer look at the patch count from the article:

Windows: 39, of which 12 were severe

OS X: 43, of which 1 was severe

Red Hat: 208, of which 2 were severe

Frankly, the rate at which you *patch* bugs is not an indication of the security of the system. A higher patch rate does not mean the system is less secure - according to that metric I could simply patch fewer bugs and look better. Without providing useful details, Symantec can spin the 'results' any which way.

I could equally point out that assuming that there are still more bugs to find, this data shows that Windows is at least 6 times more likely to contain new severe bugs than the other two OSes.

Additionally, Red Hat bundles many more programs than Windows, which are still being actively developed, contributing to the non-severe patch count.