Companies that make operating systems spend a lot of time and resources in developing them. Development teams have several factors to consider and one of them is security. Almost all operating systems have firewalls and antivirus software built into them.
However, not all operating systems have the same level of security. Some are more user-friendly, others are more secure, and yet others are free of cost. There are different operating systems and different reasons for choosing them.
We’ll take a look at some operating systems that are the most secure. But before we discuss the options, we must keep in mind that security is not unidirectional. Different teams can take different approaches toward safety and privacy.
Security is a complete process and it starts with understanding what threats your computer might face. And then taking an approach towards mitigating those threats. There might be two operating systems that are equally secure but one might be more geared towards one type of threat and the other one might be designed for a different type of threat.
With that in mind, here are our choices for the most secure operating system.
If you need a secure general-purpose operating system, OpenBSD will be perfect for you. It’s built to be secure and the code for it is constantly audited to fix any possible security issues.
While other operating systems where IPSec is optional for VPNs, OpenBSD incorporates security into the core network stack. OpenBSD follows a simple approach: incorporate open security standard in the stack so there’s no need for users to add it.
Other operating system developers add security features as add-ons but in OpenBSD, it is added in the structure itself. It runs Linux, Solaris, and BSD applications. So if you know how to work in BSD, Solaris, or Linux, you’ll be able to adopt OpenBSD easily.
OpenBSD can run on a number of hardware platforms including Intel i386, AMD-64 based systems, and Apple machines from iMac onwards.
It is available in source and binary forms, like Unix. Since it has ongoing development, it keeps integrating emerging technologies into it. This makes switching to OpenBSD easier.
It has a versatile design and this minimizes the need for customization. And if all these features are not enough to draw your attention, it’s totally free of cost. So you can use all these features without paying anything!
Linux is known to be more secure than the most popular operating system – Windows. There are several reasons behind it.
While Linux is not infallible, it offers privileges. Linux users do not have root access. They are given low level accounts by default. If a user doesn’t have system or root rights, any malware downloaded by them will not be able to access the system files.
This is the main reason why Linux doesn’t get affected by viruses so much. To download and run malware from an infected email, a Linux user will need root permissions.
Apart from that, since not a large number of people use Linux (as compared to Windows), it is not a popular target of malware creators. Since Windows is used by millions, there are more chances of a virus to spread, which is why more malware makers target PC users.
Besides, Linux is free and open-source so if you’re planning to run multiple devices, it’s cheaper to set up Linux on your devices instead of Windows.
Qubes lets users create different compartments for their work. It’s like several virtual machines running on one real machine. Since each process is running on a “separate” machine, the working of one process doesn’t affect a different process and this gives the system more security.
While it can be used by individuals too, it is especially useful for industries (such as health and finance) where confidential data needs to be kept segregated.
If you work in an environment where you have to deal with untrusted sources regularly, Qubes will be a perfect choice. Since Qubes keeps all work processes separately, it is perfect for scenarios where you don’t want one process to interact with the other one.
However, keep in mind that if you’re a regular Windows user, you’ll find Qubes difficult since all processes are kept away from each other. Even your USB is treated as an untrusted system so no USB-based malware can enter the system.
If you’re a Bitcoin investor and need a system that’s safe to keep your keys, Qubes can be a good option for you.
The problem with Qubes is that it is not widely adopted. And since it’s not widely adopted, support is limited. On operating systems such as Windows, if you face a problem, you can simply Google for a solution. This is not how it works with Qubes.
Tails is like a complete computer in itself. You can load it in a USB, a DVD, or an external drive, and use any computer to boot up from that drive. This way, you’re almost anonymous on the internet.
Tails is like a Linux version that’s designed for anonymity. It has several privacy tools such as Tor. When you boot using Tails, Tor starts running automatically. When your work is done, you can boot your PC in a regular way.
The Tail development team is anonymous. It is free to use and is made to bring balance to the internet ecosystem where companies like Google and Facebook are trying to know everything about you. With Tails, you carry your operating system in your pocket and are essentially anonymous.
Tails has several other privacy tools apart from Tor. These include KeePassX, PGP, and Off-the-Record chat plugin.
Which operating system to use
It depends on your needs. If you want all process to work independent of each other and not interact with each other, you can use Qubes. If you want to stay anonymous online, Tails will be good for you. If you need an all-purpose operating system, Linux will be good for you. And if you need an all-purpose operating system but more secure than Linux, then OpenBSD is the best choice.
So depending on your needs, you can pick the right option.