The life expectancy of Linux has lengthened dramatically since 2001 and 2002, the project said, from a mere 72 hours two and three years ago to an average of three months today.
Honeypot Project is a non-profit that, as its name suggests, connects vulnerable systems to the Internet in the hope of drawing attacks so that they can be studied. To figure out the lifespan of a Linux system, the group set up a dozen "honeynets" -- the project's term for a system that hosts numerous virtual honeypot machines -- in eight countries, then tracked the time it took for those machines to be compromised.
"What's surprising is that even though threats and activity are reported as increasing, we see the life expectancy of Linux increasing against random attacks," said the group's report.
In comparison, unpatched Windows systems often are hacked within minutes of connecting to the Internet. Late last month, similar "honeypot" research done by AvanteGarde tallied the average survival time of several versions of Windows at just four minutes.