I really do love Linux, but it has a problem. A big problem that’s bitten me yet again.
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In the years since I left Microsoft, I’ve come to appreciate and really enjoy working with Linux and many, many non Microsoft products. Don’t get me wrong, I love Windows and Office and other assorted Microsoft products, but I’ve also come to love Linux.
I host all my sites on Linux, and manage several Linux based servers for clients.
But the Linux distros all need to take a page from the lessons Microsoft had to learn – a lesson that it took Microsoft a long, long time to get.
What am I talking about? Security.
Most default Linux installs are about as secure as, say, Windows 98. Look out on the net, and you’ll find lots of laundry lists of additional steps, software and recommendations for things you need to do to your Linux installation in order to secure it from unauthorized access. A long laundry list, that’s really only understood by the Linux geeks.
Some of the different pieces of software have different auto-update mechanisms, the cPanel management console, for example, or current Red Hat distributions have something called “up2date” which works, sort of. Other distros, other solutions. Maybe.
But this week I found myself wishing for Windows Update on my clients Linux box. And even an equivalent to the Windows Security Center that might offer to enable and configure my firewall for me. Perhaps an included anti-spyware tool that not only detected, but repaired, system intrusions. Even system restore points and the system file checker under Windows were all looking pretty good.
Why? Because a client’s machine had been hacked into and a rootkit installed. The net result is that we’ll be building out and moving to a new sever. Which will be a lengthy process as I track down all the additional components required to stay secure and build my own checklist.
In 15+ years of working with windows I’ve never had a server compromised. In the last two years working with Linux, I’ve dealt with two complete server rebuilds due to hacks.
I love Linux. Really, I do. But it still has a long way to go. Dare I say, it could learn a lesson or two from Windows.
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