Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Sat 19th Jul 2008 19:01 UTC, submitted by cypress
Linux Linux and UNIX-like operating systems in general are regarded as being more secure for the common user, in contrast with operating systems that have "Windows" as part of their name. Why is that? When entering a dispute on the subject with a Windows user, the most common argument he tries to feed me is that Windows is more widespread, and therefore, more vulnerable. Apart from amusing myths like "Linux is only for servers" or "does it have a word processor?", the issue of Linux desktop security is still seriously misunderstood.
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RE: Wrong assumptions...
by alexandru_lz on Sun 20th Jul 2008 12:57 UTC in reply to "Wrong assumptions..."
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I think the one with the wrong assumptions is you. Have you used a Unix system recently?

- first, the most serious misconception is that "root" account is somewhat more important for desktop OS than user account and that virus needs to access this root account. That is total nonsense. Reinstalling OS on the desktop is simple. Recovering deleted user data usually impossible. And virus does not need root to spread, all it needs is some form of internet connection. As long as user can display pages and sent emails, virus can spread.

That is totally wrong. In a properly configured system, an infected program running with user's priviledges will not be able to modify any other binary outside the user's home directory -- in any case, none that resides in /bin, /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin or any of the such (sure, those in /tmp may end up screwed, but then again). Hell, it's hard enough to even infect a binary in the first place. Run everything as root and you're screwed -- it gets write access to just about everywhere.

- second, the idea that malware cannot hide in sources is flawed as well. All it needs is to put its scripts somewhere in ~/.gtk/desktop/myapps. Moreover, these scripts are platform independent - they will run on any unix and any CPU. And then can be written in dozen of languages linux distro usually supports. Moreover, mutating sources to make them hard to detect by antivirus software might be even easier than mutating binary.

...and, ran as regular users, they will be totally harmless to the system :-). All they can do is probably some nasty stuff to the user's home directory, which is easily solved with a regular batch of backups.

I think that the only reason why malware is not so wide-spread in linux is really because malware writters still do not care. If linux ever gets more than 10% of market-share, it will get viruses too.

Oh please...

Edit: afaik, some programs that could circumvent permissions by exploiting various security weaknesses do exist -- but they are quite complex, and quite possibly too complex to be accessible to your avera script kiddie.

Edited 2008-07-20 12:59 UTC

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