keithdw wrote:JIf OS X or Linux was installed on 90% of the worlds desktop PC's, the virus and spyware writers would concentrate their efforts on these OS's and maybe these would then be suffering just as many attacks?
Sorry ... but this is nonsense!!
1.) Lack of needed security holes in UNIX-like OS
First of all, there simply are none of the security holes that Windows has. Don't get me wrong: There are security holes in Linux
(DUH! it was written by us flawed and imperfect humans! Obviously it cannot be perfect in this case!) but it still takes human intelligence to exploit them. No script-kiddie can download a "virus construction kit" as for Windows, click click click with the mouse and voila, we have the next stupid VBScript virus that auto-propagates from system to system and brings the Internet to a crawl .... Nope! Simply not possible.
There was a time where UNIX-like OS had all the viruses
... I shall just mention the Morris Worm
, probably the first-ever Internet worm that spread from mail system to mail system ... But that was almost 20 years ago!!
And believe me: In the UNIX world people learn their lessons from security fiascos. The Morris worm simply wouldn't work today anymore, as most of the mechanisms it relied upon (finger, rsh, unencrypted passwords ...) are simply not used anymore ... people ditched that stuff out of UNIX because of that worm and replaced everything with more secure defaults.
And Microsoft?? They still use some of the same brain-dead mechanisms in XP and now in Vista that is causing computers to get infected again and again. NetBIOS, SMB and some other very antique network protocols that were exploited and abused time and time again. Did they ditch that BS? Nope, with XP Service Pack 2 they came up with that joke of a firewall which wouldn't even be necessary if they wouldn't be so stupid and run those unwanted services in the first place!! (BTW --- That's at the same time the very reason why you can have Ubuntu and/or Mint and other Linux distros running and why you most of the time don't need a firewall: you ain't running any services ... so there is nothing that would need to be protected. Simple logic
2.) Linux and its UNIX-ish brethren ARE an interesting target
Need an example?
UNIX-like operating systems run most of the web servers, most if not all of the mail transfer agent servers (MTA = those servers which transfer zillions of mails between the various domains! The sheer workload would make any Windoze machine to crumble!)
And they last but not least run most of the DNS servers, particularly: The root DNS servers. No root DNS = No Internet at all.
You basically said "If Linux were more popular maybe virus authors would concentrate their efforts more on this OS" ... Linux is popular!
Especially in the server rooms. And all those idiots and cyber-vandals are trying hard every day to cause mayhem. And guess what? Nothing has happened so far.
I agree, here and there a web site gets broken into and defaced, but that's mickey mouse BS compared to the virus floods you get on Windoze.
You assume just because you haven't seen Linux on 90% of the desktops that it is less exposed to all those cyber-threats? You are so wrong.
Linux (and other UNIX-like OS such as the various BSD
variants) are enjoying an extreme popularity amongst us admin folks. We are running your web servers on those OS, we are running your business databases on it, we are running your e-shops on it (Amazon!), we are running your mail servers on it (the MTA's ... the servers that really
deliver the mails to their destinations ... not that MS Exchange mickey mouse $hit that people love to use because they can sync their stupid calendars!), we are running your telecom billing applications on it .... you are surrounded by UNIX-like OS (and probably have been all your life) and you just didn't realise it yet.
Why are so many viruses written for Windows? Because people can get those stupid programs to work there!
My theory --- to counter your's:
Even if Windows were only installed on 10% of all desktops you'd still suffer from virus and spyware floods again and again. Simply because viruses can be made to work on Windows;
Good luck with that on Linux or on FreeBSD or any other UNIX-like OS for that matter. People would have released viruses long ago if they could have done it. Just all those businesses who are betting the house and the farm and everything on UNIX-like servers would have been an interesting target for such people.