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  1. #26
    From space with love silver trophy
    SpacePhoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    No, I'm not saying that Linux is completely safe from harm. If you had read my previous posts in this thread you'd have seen that. I'm just saying that I've never heard of anyone who has suffered substantial damage to their Linux system due to a virus or trojan.

    It's possible to write viruses for Linux systems, but it seems to be difficult to make those viruses cause too much damage. At least unless you use a lot of social engineering to trick the user into actively letting your malware acquire root privs.

    The protection offered by iptables is quite sufficient for many users. An anti-virus app is probably a good idea, but I'm saying that it isn't as essential for Linux as it is for Windows.

    There's a funny article about running WIndows viruses with Wine.
    And here's a detailed instruction on how to run a malware app under Linux.
    Anti-virus software is only less important on linux until linux becomes popular enough that the virus writes turn their attention to it. On a related note, is there much difference between the different versions of linux behind the scence, ie stuff like file handling, etc?
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  2. #27
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    If youy don't run an anti-virus program to block WINDOWS vi9ruses on your Linux system then you are safe from the viruses but those people you send emails to are not as they will more than likely get viruses sent to them by you. If you don't want to be responsible for spreading viruses you need an anti-virus program that will detect and remove the viruses regardless of what operating system you are runn ing and regardless of what operating system the virus is targetting. The only time you can get away with not having an anti-virus program is if you don't use email at all (assuming that you are running Linux or Mac where web based viruses will not affect you - yet).

    As for the excuse about not running as administrator on Linux - well people with proper security in place don't do that on ANY operating system.

    If you have the security on your computer set up correctly it doesn't matter which operating system you are running as they are all reasonably secure when correctly configured with two way firewall, anti-virus etc.

    The only real indicators as to which actual operating system may be more secure is that whenever there is a competition held to try to break into one of them those participating seldom choose Windows as the OS they will attack - the winner almost always has won by exploiting a previously undiscovered hole in eithe Mac or Linux OS. That doesn't mean that Linux is necessarily less secure than Windows - but it hasn't undergone the massive amount of security testing that Windows has undergone and so until such time as that testing is undertaken there is no way to be certain.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Anti-virus software is only less important on linux until linux becomes popular enough that the virus writes turn their attention to it.
    Linux is a very common server operating system, especially for web servers. So how come there isn't a plethora of viruses targeting those? Wouldn't servers be a more commercially attractive target for virus makers than desktop computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    On a related note, is there much difference between the different versions of linux behind the scence, ie stuff like file handling, etc?
    Linux is actually just the OS kernel. Then you have a number of 'distros' where they have bundled the kernel with a range of necessary/useful programs, usually from the GNU suite. So the only 'versions of Linux' are the progressive versions of the kernel itself, but there are many different distros.

    There are several filesystems used on GNU/Linux systems, where the low-level interaction differs. From a user's or a developer's point of view, though, the differences are not very big. Linux, like Unix, has the 'everything is a file' paradigm that makes life easy for developers.

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    If youy don't run an anti-virus program to block WINDOWS vi9ruses on your Linux system then you are safe from the viruses but those people you send emails to are not as they will more than likely get viruses sent to them by you.
    Yes, as I said, if you forward emails without thinking, this can happen. But you're wrong to say that 'those people you send emails to' will suffer. Since the viruses don't infect my Linux box, I don't spread viruses by sending email. Only by forwarding an already infected email.

    And I didn't get an answer to my question earlier: Will Linux anti-virus software detect viruses that only affect Windows machines? If not, then it won't detect those Windows-only viruses in my email, and I could still forward them to you unknowingly (if I were the sort that blithely forwards insecure emails).
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  4. #29
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Linux is a very common server operating system, especially for web servers. So how come there isn't a plethora of viruses targeting those?).
    Server setups are done by people with a relatively high level of knowledge of computers who will therefore make sure that the server has appropriate security installed. Those computers which are targets are those belonging to people who don't know enough about computers to set up appropriate security. At the moment most of that group of people (if not all of them) are running Windows.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    And I didn't get an answer to my question earlier: Will Linux anti-virus software detect viruses that only affect Windows machines? If not, then it won't detect those Windows-only viruses in my email, and I could still forward them to you unknowingly (if I were the sort that blithely forwards insecure emails).
    An anti-virus program would be useless if it didn't detect all known viruses regardless of the platform the virus is targetted at. Since anti-virus programs generally identify known viruses using signature files the same signatures should be tested for regardless of the platform the anti-virus is running on.

    As for unknowingly forwarding infected emails, not all Linux users are as security conscious as you are and so there will be some who would at least occasionally forward infected emails. I am careful enough with what I do with emails that a virus wouldn't get into my Windows system even if I didn't have an anti-virus program running but that doesn't mean that I don't run anti-virus since there may be a time one day in the future where it detects something that I would have missed.
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