Microsoft has no dearth of critics as far as security goes, particularly from the open source bandwagon. Apple’s commercials certainly show no mercy when talking about this issue, and frankly the commercials are quite funny and well-executed, imo (..but then isn’t marketing the art or science of being as far removed from the facts as possible without getting caught? :).
Nevertheless, the numbers tell a different story, and so does a recent report from Symantec – the vendor of anti-virus and security software who can be accused of being anything but too kind to Microsoft as far as security goes.
“…Symantec, no friend of Microsoft, said in its latest research report that when it comes to widely-used operating systems, Microsoft is doing better overall than its leading commercial competitors”, writes Andy Patrizio in an InternetNews.com article titled “Surprise, Microsoft Listed as Most Secure OS“.
According to Symantec’s 11th Internet Security Threat Report, Microsoft Windows had the fewest number of patches and the shortest average patch development time of the five operating systems it monitored in the last six months of 2006.
Here’s how they fared in the second half of 2006, according to the report:
1. Microsoft Windows: 39 vulnerabilities found, 12 high-priority/severe, average time for a patch: 21 days.
2. Red Hat Linux: 208 vulnerabilities, 2 severe, 130 medium severity, 76 low severity, average time to fix: 58 days.
3. Apple’s Mac OS X: 43 vulnerabilities, 1 severe, average time to fix: 66 days
4. HP-UX: 98 vulnerabilities, average time to fix: 101 days
5. Sun Solaris: 63 vulnerabilities, average time to fix: 122 days
Coming from a source which cannot be accused of any bias towards Microsoft, this is an interesting revelation! Though it can be argued that Microsoft had the highest number of severe vulnerabilities, it’s comforting to note the company’s doing better than most vendors of releasing patches for those in a timely fashion.