We are in the year 2022. It is important to know what defines a secure operating system. How should one notice and identify a secure OS? In this guide, we will answer these questions and discuss the most practical and suitable solutions for your devices this year. Plus, we'll cover the primary and most vital elements of Graphene OS - an example of a secure operating system for this year. So, let's begin!
What is a Secure Operating System - an overview
An OS or operating system is software that, among other things, manages computer resources and provides an environment in which applications can run. So in short, it's the primary software on top of which other software may be installed and/or run. The best examples of operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android.
The term "secure" is used a lot in the tech world, especially next to software solutions. But what does it actually mean when applied to an OS? In short, a secure OS should provide protection against unauthorized access or use of the device and its data. It should also be resistant to malware and other online threats. Finally, a secure OS should have the means and protocols to handle confidential data well and protect the user's privacy.
Nowadays, with cybercrime on the rise, it is more important than ever to have a secure OS installed on your devices. It can help by preventing unauthorized access, breaching, hacking, etc.
Features of secure operating systems
Let's take a closer look at some of the main features that define operating system security.
A secure operating system is defined as an OS that protects data and user identity from unauthorized access and theft. It should have features like strong authentication, data encryption, and firewalls to help keep your device and information secure. Let's focus on each one of them to give a bit more insight.
In addition, a secure OS should be able to resist malware and other online threats. This can be done with features like virus protection, anti-spyware/anti-tracking, etc. Developers should always strive to make their software be one step ahead of the hackers and implement the most innovative software solutions.
In order to perform some important action by a user (e.g. changing vital settings, changing passwords, etc.), the system should initiate a process of verifying that someone is who they say they are. This is called authentication. There are multiple ways to do this, but the most common ones are focused on the Knowledge factor. It's something you know (like a password). There's also Possession - something you have (like a credit card or code generator), and Inheritance - something you are (like your biometric data).
The strongest form of authentication used commonly is 2FA or MFA. This makes the user authenticate and verify their identity using 2 out of the 3 total mentioned factors. So, for example, they need to enter their password on a device they own and are registered with, scan their biometric data on their phone, etc. Multi-Factor authentication is very crucial because as you can see below, the vast majority of breaches result from not implementing 2FA and relying too much on passwords alone.
Did you know?
81% of data breaches are a result of weak or stolen passwords.
Another important security feature for an OS to have is proper data encryption. Encrypting data means converting readable data into an unreadable format. So, what's stored on the device or a server is encrypted and can only be accessed with a key or password. This makes it very difficult for anyone to access your information, even if they manage to get their hands on your device. A secure OS should have this as a standard feature.
It's highly important to utilize end-to-end encryption for any kind of digital communication. With E2E encryption, even when the hacker manages to hack the database or server of the intermediary storage, they won't be able to physically decrypt the contents, making it extremely secure and effective.
Firewalls are essential for any device that is connected to the internet. They act as a shield between your device and the open web, preventing unauthorized access and protecting your data. A good firewall should be able to block malicious traffic and keep your device safe from online threats.
One of the most important things for a secure OS is to have good antivirus software installed. This will protect your device from malware, viruses, and other online threats. If possible, choose a reputable provider with the most experience and the most well-rounded software. There are many of them to choose from, but one single, yet versatile solution is enough to protect your hardware and data.
These apps are considered to be the most exploited by malware and hackers. Whilst Adobe Flash is almost non-existent anymore, the rest of these solutions are, so implementing antivirus software is a crucial part of protecting your data and hardware.
Anti-tracking software or plug-ins
This type of software helps protect your privacy by preventing websites from tracking your online behavior and preventing them from monitoring the actions that you take. It basically stops companies and third-party advertisers from collecting data about you and using it for their own purposes.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) works by rerouting your internet connection so it seems like you're browsing from an entirely different network and location. This makes tracking impossible and masks your true location and/or identity.
VPN works by connecting two or more networks together. There are both embedded solutions on some software or 3rd party plug-ins and apps that you can use for this.
What are the most common security threats for software in 2022?
Let's talk about the potential threats that you may be seeing as an OS user.
One of the most common security threats for software in 2022, just like it was since the emergence of computers and the world wide web is malware. Malware can include viruses, spyware, and Trojans, and can damage or steal data from your computer.
Another common security threat is ransomware, which locks you out of your computer until you pay a ransom or complete any kind of different task, set out by cybercriminals.
Finally, you have phishing, which isn't all that much focused on exploiting software, but. A lack of integrated security measures can make it easier for phishing emails or phishing software to pass undetected.
To protect yourself from these and other security threats, remember to install good antivirus software as well as enable proper firewall protection. Be sure to keep your software up-to-date and use a VPN whenever possible. Also, be very cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments in emails, even if they seem like they're from a trusted source.
Graphene OS - an introduction to a genuinely private and secure mobile OS
Now, let's take a look at one specific secure OS that is available to you in 2022. GrapheneOS is a very secure and reliable solution that is based on Android but focused primarily on security and privacy. It's a non-profit, open-source project that has attracted top developers from all over the world, as well as industry-leading cybersecurity experts to create software that improves on regular Android in all directions, from a security standpoint.
It has plenty of unique features that prove its claim of security-oriented:
- Hardened app runtime, kernel, compiler toolchain, and libc.
- Many different ingenious solutions from a software perspective to prevent memory corruption.
- Much more aggressive consistency checks.
- Enhances hardware-based attestation.
- Options to disable or enable certain features.
works well with GrapheneOS to ensure proper and 100% well-rounded cybersecurity for each and every one of our users. You can go to our official GrapheneOS installer to install it on your Pixel phone (Click here
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That's it for our guide on secure operating systems in 2022. As you can see, there are many features that a secure operating system should offer for both desktop and mobile device users. Keep in mind these features to better protect your privacy and data. Don't forget about GrapheneOS and Kraden messenger to really take your security to the next level.
We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Stay safe and private!