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Ubuntu 'highest score' in UK gov security test

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Ubuntu scores the highest in a security assessment of end user computer devices by CESG, the UK's government's information security arm, reports Canonical, the software firm behind this Linux distribution. CESG in October last year published its security guidance for laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones. Comparing the results, Canonical on 10 January concludes its Ubuntu Linux is "the only operating system that passes as many as 9 out of 12 requirements without any significant risks."

"This is roughly equivalent to a standard set of best practice security features", Canonical writes in its summary of the 9 CESG guidance reports. "Any enterprise would be interested in implementing these to make sure that information is not leaked from their organisation."

CESG writes that its online guidance "is designed to help UK public sector security architects, system administrators and end-users as they deploy and use the latest laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones." The guidance "provides advice to those deploying devices by providing details on how particular platforms can be configured to achieve the key security recommendations".

The department is part of Government Communications Headquarters, one of the UK's intelligence agencies.

Its official

Apart from its review of Ubuntu Linux, it looked at the use of the open source system Android for mobile devices. CESG also published reports for several proprietary operating systems, used for PCs and mobile devices.

In its guidance on Ubuntu, CESG writes that the Linux distribution can be used for accessing 'official' email, for creating, editing, reviewing and commenting on 'official' documents and for accessing the 'official' intranet resources, the internet and other web-resources.

In its review, Canonical points out that two of the three problems found by CESG, independent verification of its VPN and disk-encryption, are not met by any of the assessed operating systems. The third issue, secure boot, technology from a dominant proprietary IT vendor.

Desktop

Canonical: "All in all Ubuntu stacks up as the most secure of the current desktop and mobile operating systems. Supported by Canonical with free security updates for 5 years, and without malware problems, it's hard to beat in official public sector applications."

Also on 10 January, Computer Weekly, a British IT news site, reports that the UK's Government Digital Service might switch to Ubuntu Linux on some of its desktop workstations. GDS is part of the UK Cabinet Office, given the task to transform the country's digital public services.

 

More information:

UK's CESG
CESG's platform security guidance
CESG End User Devices Security and Configuration Guidance
CESG End User Devices Security Guidance for Ubuntu Linux
Canonical announcement
Computer Weekly
ZDnet
Linux Magazine (in German)
Pro Linux (in German)
Linux Expres (in Czech)
Hit (in Romanian)
MBnet (in Finnish)
MuyLinux (in Spanish)
Technews (in Bulgarian)
Dobre Programy (in Polish)
Liniux Developpez (in French)

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