What is the most secure operating system? 5 secure PC operating systems to consider
Operating systems are something that many computer users take at face value, but the security measures in place still work to keep your device safe.
Choosing the right operating system (OS) is essential to staying safe online, but no operating system is impossible to hack. Hackers can infiltrate systems and target users with malware to spy on them, steal their personal information, or even disable their operating system.
There are many operating systems aimed at ensuring the security of your firmware and computer programs. Here are some of the most secure operating systems available today.
Qubes OS is an open-source, privacy-focused Linux distribution that aims to provide security through isolation. The operating system works on the principle of compartmentalization security, isolating user files to protect them from malware.
The operating system uses Xen-based virtualization to categorize programs into isolated virtual machines (Xen domains) called qubes. It is in these Xen domains that applications run.
The principle of isolation allows Qube OS to create multiple qubes in which application instances are affected. Qubes OS runs each application in a separate qube, and an individual instance of an application is limited to its own qube.
Compartmentalization ensures that an infected application or malicious code cannot infect other applications and programs or crash the host operating system.
Qubes OS provides a secure environment for using other operating systems including Fedora, Whonix, Debian, and Windows.
Privacy and security have long been core values for Apple, and macOS devices have received several improvements, all thanks to macOS Monterey, the latest version of macOS.
With macOS Monterey, Apple has chosen to strengthen Mail’s privacy protections. Mail Privacy Protection masks users’ IP addresses; this means senders can’t use it to track your location or associate it with your other online activities. This feature also prevents email senders from knowing if and when you have read their email.
Also, starting in Monterey, you’ll see an orange notification in the menu bar whenever an app has access to your microphone.
There are also some important changes to Safari on Monterey that help macOS users stay safe online. One of them is the ability to automatically upgrade HTTP addresses to their HTTPS equivalents. This option is activated by default.
The new web browser also enhances the already advanced Smart Tracking Prevention feature. The privacy feature helps prevent web trackers from seeing your IP address and therefore tracking you across the internet.
Microsoft claims Windows 11 is the most secure Windows ever. However, Windows operating system security enhancements require new system specifications and requirements. So, to take full advantage of its security enhancements, your Windows PC must have TPM 2.0. It should also support Secure Boot to prevent malware from attacking the boot process.
Your PC uses the TPM 2.0 chip to store encryption keys and support other security features, including BitLocker for data protection and Windows Hello for identity protection.
It’s not just your security systems that use a TPM. Programs like Firefox, Chrome, and Outlook use it for certain encryption tasks.
The operating system also requires at least 4 GB of memory, 64 GB of storage, and 1 GHz with two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor.
Windows 11 comes with its own antivirus software, Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Antivirus was once considered awful due to its inability to detect malware. However, over the past few years, Microsoft has made some welcome changes that have improved Defender, and it’s now one of the best free antivirus programs. The antivirus can detect, block and neutralize malware and ranks better than some paid competitors.
The operating system also includes Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, a service used by Microsoft Edge to keep you safe while browsing the internet. SmartScreen checks the websites you visit against a list of known malicious sites. If it finds a matching site, it blocks it.
OpenBSD is a Unix-like operating system based on Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). The free and open source operating system was founded by a team of volunteers.
OpenBSD runs on cross-platform 4.4 BSD, a Unix-based operating system renowned for its robust security features. The operating system has its security enhancements enabled by default to minimize the chances of encountering security issues.
Naturally, OpenBSD aims to be the most secure operating system available, and its developers strive to proactively fix security vulnerabilities. The operating system is also intentionally and continuously audited, and any bugs and security issues found are fixed.
The operating system includes OpenSSH, a suite of networking utilities that provides secure communications between two untrusted hosts over an unsecured network.
OpenBSD prides itself on its full disclosure policy. This allows its developers to be completely transparent with any security vulnerabilities they find when they occur.
Whonix is a free, open-source operating system designed for advanced security and privacy. The operating system focuses on securing and anonymizing your online activities.
The Debian-based Linux distribution uses the Tor network to hide and protect users’ IP address and location. Even malware with root privileges cannot find your real IP address. The operating system routes all internet connections through the Tor network. Traffic that cannot be routed through the network is disabled and blocked.
Whonix provides a host of anti-tracking protection technologies, including boot clock randomization and secure network time synchronization via sdwdate (Secure Distributed Web Date).
Whonix consists of two virtual machines: the workstation and the gateway. The former runs user applications on a completely isolated network, while the latter runs Tor processes and acts as a gateway.
Whonix also offers Tor Messenger, encrypted email, secure data transfer, and other software. Plus, it’s available for macOS, Windows, and most Linux distributions, and comes pre-installed on Qubes.
Which operating system is the most secure?
Almost all operating systems are designed with security as a requirement, but there can be no truly secure operating system. Something malicious can always happen, no matter how secure you think your favorite operating system is.
All operating systems including macOS, Windows and BSD can be hacked. Additionally, reports of increasing computer hijackings in which consumer data has been stolen or misused have been in the news for some time.
A reasonably secure operating system can help protect your business and personal information. Knowing more about cyber threats and how to secure your PC is also helpful.