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What Makes Linux More Secure Than Windows?

When you browse around old school computing forums, you will find the Linux vs. Windows debate raging in full force. People have been discussing this topic for years, arguing over which of the two systems is better for each kind of user, along which offers the best security. Unfortunately for most, Linux has long provided a better option for those who are more security conscious. How exactly does Linux manage to stay ahead of a company as large as Microsoft, though?