Will Ransomware Influence The Choice of OS

Posted by @Helen

July 3, 2017

While ransomware is spreading like wildfire through Windows computers, Linux and Mac machines works safe and sound. Will ransomware influence the choice of OS?

Windows Mac Linux

Windows, Mac, Linux and others, which computer operating system should you take? Maybe some of you had ever encountered such problems; but for most computer users, this is not a problem.

First of all, if you are going to buy an Apple computer like iMac or iPad, you have no other choice but Mac OS for Apple products only allow its own operating system to run on its products.

Then, there are only Windows and Linux left. Generally, most people will choose Windows for the people around them most are running Windows. They may only have seen Windows OS so far and only know it. Linux is a system which is more “strict” (allow me to use this word to describe it) and its users are more professional.

OS ShareTherefore, here comes the market share of the computer systems. The pie chart is just for reference and not exactly represents the proportion.

About Ransomware

I believe that nearly all of you who are reading this article know what ransomware is while the latest Petya ransomware virus is spreading out like wildfire. This is the second wave of malware in the last two months. Last month on May 12, the UK National Health Service digital system was attacked by a ransomware called WannaCry.

Ransomware

Both Petya and WannaCry exploits vulnerability of Windows operating system called EternalBlue which was found by NSA (the US National Security Agency) and leaked by a hacker group called Shadow Brokers. Both of them encrypt personal files and blackmail victims by money in Bitcoin.

The Bad Effect of Ransomware

The last WannaCry malware has hacked more than 300,000 Windows computers in over 150 countries; over 200,000 victims. The direct and greatest result caused by ransomware is data loss. However, indirectly, much damages and inconvenience are caused: economic chaos, public service paralysis, political turmoil, mental hurts, etc.

Renault had halted auto production at several sites to prevent the spread of ransomware in its systems. (ransomware impact on business)

Some hospitals, schools, universities and other institutions were infected in Asia. (ransomware impact on public services)

The spread of the ransomware triggered cyber turmoil in Europe. Hackers uncovered campaign documents related to French candidate Emmanuel Macron (now the president of France) before the vote. And this happened about a month before the British election. (ransomware impact on politics)

Many college students’ thesis were encrypted down in China and they are in great sorry. (psychological ransomware impact)

Ransomware Bad Influence

The damages caused by ransomware to us both physically and mentally are too many to be written down. How to prevent ransomware attacks >>

Will Ransomware Influence the Choice of OS?

While great damages have been done from ransomware to Windows computers, Linux and Mac machines are working safe and sound. Then, will computer users change their choice of operating systems, especially the victims when they reinstall their systems?

That is a question. To answer the question, we should first figure out why Linux and Mac OS can survive the ransomware attack.

Obviously, the recent two kinds of ransomware worms are coded targeting to Windows systems which has the EternalBlue vulnerability. So, do Linux and Mac systems have no vulnerability? Does ransomware affect Linux?

No system is perfect and malware-proof. There once are ransomware attacks happened to Linux and Mac. The key point is we didn’t aware of them since we do not use the related OS. The reason for why Windows ransomware infections can trigger such a large wave is that there is a much greater user base compared either to Liunx or to Mac.

Therefore, the choice of OS is no protection against ransomware.  Yet, as a target, Linux is far less frequent; it is easier to secure and its uses and users are far less likely to trigger ransomware.

Will ransomware influence Microsoft business? I don’t think so. Maybe a few former Windows users and some Windows penitential users will change their mind to other OSes; however, most of them will not give up their familiar system to a strange one. We should believe the power of habit.