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Thread: Does linux need antivirus software?

  1. #1 Does linux need antivirus software? 
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    I have often seen it written that linux is almost immune to malware attacks because of "characteristics" of the way it is put together. I don't understand what these characteristics are and am less than convinced. It could be that malware writers prefer to focus their attention on the more widely used Windows versions rather than struggle with the numerous versions (distros) of linux. Any thoughts on the matter?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    I think the numerous versions are one such characteristic.


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  4. #3  
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    Magimaster, yes, I agree with that. But some linux enthusiasts appear to imply that linux is intrinsically more infection proof than Windows. I don't understand that, but I am not particularly savvy on these matters. I ask because I have toyed with the idea of using linux installed alongside Windows.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Nothing is immune to viruses, but Linux is a bit more resistant to them than most operating systems are.

    Linux upgrades the operating system regularly and it has its own antivirus system known as clam.

    One of the things that makes Linux more resistant to viral attacks is the way the operating system is isolated from the user files.

    You need to log onto the machine with the root or superuser account to instal any executable programs into the file system. This has to be done with a password.
    The difference is in Windows executable files can install with a simple double click without you needing to use a password to enable the installation, although that has been fixed a bit in more recent versions.
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  6. #5  
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    Very interesting dan hunter. That's the kind of explanation I am looking for. I use Windows routinely, but I don't usually log on as an administrator. I do have to enter a password for actions which require administrator permission. Is this the same as what linux does?
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    Very interesting dan hunter. That's the kind of explanation I am looking for. I use Windows routinely, but I don't usually log on as an administrator. I do have to enter a password for actions which require administrator permission. Is this the same as what linux does?
    Similar yes.
    Take what I say from this point on very cautiously because I am not a computer expert.
    Hopefully somebody with more knowlege can correct any mistakes I make.
    x86 (processor chip) architecture has a feature built in called rings. There are 4 of them numbered 0 through 3.
    This wikipedia article explains rings clearly but simply.
    Ring (computer security) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Linux is like Unix that way. The kernel of the operating system is not open to access except by the superuser. It has to do with how Linux sets itself up using the architecture of the x86 (amd86) chip.

    I am not sure how Windows does it now with W7 and W8. They used to only recognize two rings.
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  8. #7  
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    Thanks dan. I also struggle with many aspects of system "architecture".
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  9. #8  
    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    I will also add that the problem that infects many client system are browser based hijackers and malicious codes.

    Users forget that when you are visiting any intranet/internet web site you are actually downloading information to your client system. Some of malicious code can log or even redirect your web based destinations.
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  10. #9  
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    I have no doubt that some types of of malware attacks take place via browsers. However, there is a widely used form of protection against this in the form of Trusteer Rapport endpoint protection. This software is now often distributed through banks to their online customers. But as far as I am aware, there isn't a version that runs on linux.
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  11. #10  
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    Most writers of malware are doing it as a business (or criminal enterprise). So they're looking for the best possible return on their investment. If you come up with a good Windows hack, you can spread it to quite a lot of computers. If you hack a version of Linux, or MacIntosh, how many actual computers did you just gain access to? A lot of work for a small return.

    Even within the Windows line, you can get partial protection if you use an unpopular version. I ran Vista for years without any anti-virus in place. I think it's possible Windows 8 will shape up to be another "not worth the trouble to hack" system if 9 fixes some of the user-unfriendliness.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Freshman nerdyman's Avatar
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    Don't know, I use windows 7. If it does need anti virus then try AVG if it is compatible, for malware to malware bytes
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  13. #12  
    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    I use the Windows Essential...the one that comes with Windows....new name I think with Windows 8.....works fine...don't need anything else.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I use the Windows Essential...the one that comes with Windows....new name I think with Windows 8.....works fine...don't need anything else.
    Babe, you should try Malwarebytes. It is a free install and it will protect your browser settings from being hijacked by malicious sites.
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  15. #14  
    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I use the Windows Essential...the one that comes with Windows....new name I think with Windows 8.....works fine...don't need anything else.
    Babe, you should try Malwarebytes. It is a free install and it will protect your browser settings from being hijacked by malicious sites.
    Mahalo..I use a free one called Super Anti Spyware which is also free......

    I very much appreciate your response!! Very sweet of you!
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  16. #15  
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    I've used linux for four years (ubuntu, debian, arch, fedora) and have never had one security issue (that i've been aware of) and have never ran any anti-virus software, providing that one has a seperate root password and doesn't make any silly modifications to the file system or network I don't see why they would need one. The belief that linux is immune to viruses is a bit silly, there are numerous security patches for the kernel and for software on a daily basis, packages can be updated without any difficulty though (well with varying difficulty depending on the distribution one uses).
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  17. #16  
    Forum Professor river_rat's Avatar
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    It depends, are you running a Linux server or just a Linux desktop? You have very different security concerns in those two environments. But more importantly, it is usually the 3rd party applications that open your computer up to exploitation - Java and Acrobat being the prime targets at the moment.
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I use the Windows Essential...the one that comes with Windows....new name I think with Windows 8.....works fine...don't need anything else.
    Babe, you should try Malwarebytes. It is a free install and it will protect your browser settings from being hijacked by malicious sites.
    Mahalo..I use a free one called Super Anti Spyware which is also free......

    I very much appreciate your response!! Very sweet of you!
    There is also a good cleaner (had to use it today on Mom's Laptop) that is also a free use. She kept having websites hijack her default search engine and was getting link redirects to marketing sites.

    AdwCleaner (you can find it at Cnet.com downloads and bleepingcomputer.com)
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  19. #18  
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    My system is Windows 7 + Windows Firewall +AVG antivirus, and that has worked fine. But with the withdrawal of support for Windows XP, I suspect that some people might be looking at alternatives and linux will probably be one such alternative. Out of curiosity, I have tried linux Ubuntu briefly but, at the moment, I prefer Windows 7.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I use the Windows Essential...the one that comes with Windows....new name I think with Windows 8.....works fine...don't need anything else.
    Babe, you should try Malwarebytes. It is a free install and it will protect your browser settings from being hijacked by malicious sites.
    Mahalo..I use a free one called Super Anti Spyware which is also free......

    I very much appreciate your response!! Very sweet of you!
    There is also a good cleaner (had to use it today on Mom's Laptop) that is also a free use. She kept having websites hijack her default search engine and was getting link redirects to marketing sites.

    AdwCleaner (you can find it at Cnet.com downloads and bleepingcomputer.com)
    MAHALO!!

    What doll face you are!! I shall have to do this tomorrow!
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  21. #20  
    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    I am Linux IGNORANT!
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  22. #21  
    Forum Freshman nerdyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I use the Windows Essential...the one that comes with Windows....new name I think with Windows 8.....works fine...don't need anything else.
    Babe, you should try Malwarebytes. It is a free install and it will protect your browser settings from being hijacked by malicious sites.
    Mahalo..I use a free one called Super Anti Spyware which is also free......I very much appreciate your response!! Very sweet of you!
    There is also a good cleaner (had to use it today on Mom's Laptop) that is also a free use. She kept having websites hijack her default search engine and was getting link redirects to marketing sites.AdwCleaner (you can find it at Cnet.com downloads and bleepingcomputer.com)
    that is a good one but CNET is not trusted, I get viruses and spyware 75% the time I download from them
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  23. #22  
    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nerdyman View Post
    that is a good one but CNET is not trusted, I get viruses and spyware 75% the time I download from them
    That's odd. I've been downloading from CNET for years without issue.
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  24. #23  
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    CNET has been under some suspicion in recent times, as revealed by comments on the Web Of Trust site.

    CNET

    Just take a look at some of the comments in the above link (scroll down).
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  25. #24  
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    Cnet?
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  26. #25  
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    You can still get malware but Linux is safer as software is generally open source so it can be reviewed for malware. If using untrusted files then there may be risk.
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