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WannaCrypt dusts off Linux desktop debate

by on19 May 2017

Apparently Linux desktop is more secure

In the wake of the WannaCrypt malware disaster there have been moves within the Linux community to try and use it to prove that this is the ideal reason to put Linux on the Desktop.

The argument is being seriously looked at in some tech magazines as a way to save corporate computers from the new strands of malware.

The argument is that since ransomware has been exploiting Windows vulnerabilities for a while, the best bet will be to dump the OS completely and switch to Linux.

It ignores the fact that ransomware has been written and deployed against Linux machines in the past. LinuxEncoder ransomware tipped up last year. While it was on a limited scale, it did show that Linux was just as vulnerable as Windows.

However, the argument is that LinuxEncoder did not infect the desktop so Linux on the desktop was “safe”.

This is the same argument that was used by Apple fanboys. The logic was that because no one could be bothered writing malware to hit Macs to steal their Coldplay collections, the underlying OS was somehow secure. It was untrue, of course, but Apple traded off the argument for ages. It appears that Linux fanboys are trying the same logic.

The logic ignores the fundamental issue behind WannaCrypt was the fact that corporates were using chronically obsolete out-of-date Windows software which had not been patched. A company which cannot be bothered upgrading computers for a decade is not the sort of outfit which will install Linux. Even if they did, they are also not the sort of company which will be bothered upgrading it and will still be vulnerable.

WannaCrypt, or ransomware, is not an argument to move from Windows to Linux, it is a cautionary tale for those companies who think that they can save a buck or two by ignoring their IT. Trying to steer the narrative away from that issue to support your favourite OS is just not going to work.

Last modified on 19 May 2017
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