Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Chat about Linux in general

Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby RavenLX on Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:31 pm

Disclaimer: I've used Windows for many years. I've also dabbled with Linux for about as long, but Windows has always been my main operating system. Thus I haven't really been as "into" the Linux community as many others have been.

There is a concern I have been thinking about lately. That's viruses in Linux. This is something it seems nobody else ever thinks about. Ever. As there's never any need in Linux. What? A Virus Scanner in Linux? For what? Everyone knows that viruses target Windows and sometimes (to a lesser extent I hear) Macs. However, things are changing. What will/are/have the Linux developers and community do/been doing to keep up with these changes?

First: I believe Windows is biting the dust. They not only totally confused (and often alienated) many users into sticking with older versions of Windows (7's EOL is 2020) with the release of Windows 8, there are rumors of having a new version of Windows out each year, in an attempt to force users to upgrade away from the older (and better?) versions of Windows. Many people are starting to look into alternatives that are not corporate owned.

Secondly: Many are switching to tablets and Android. There's new reports coming out of cell phone viruses. Whether they are iOS or Android I am not sure yet as I just read some headlines not too long ago about an increase in cell phone attacks as people are "using them as wallets" as one headline I think stated.

So, this makes me think about something. Criminals go where there is the most profit. Where the people with most to lose go. As people move more towards mobile, the devices are needing to deal with viruses. About a year ago one firmware upgrade I did on one of my tablets included a virus scanner.

Linux hasn't been in the spotlight of viruses because very few to no viruses exist for it. However, what if the user base spiked to that of mobile or even Windows as people move away from Windows and look for something better?

Since Linux source code is open-source, would it be much for criminals to go and take advantage of that to write something really devastating? Not just take your bank account but invade your privacy and personal space, use your computer to invade others without you knowing?

While it might not be as much a threat now, what about the future? If Linux may see a spike in user base, which will happen?

1. Companies like Norton will find no profit anymore in selling Windows virus scanners and might have to start making them for Linux or go under. And with people used to not having to pay for most of their software, will they be willing to pay such amounts as Windows users currently do for such software?

2. Lack of Virus Scanners may cause the community to lock down the source code of everything to only certain developers so that not just anyone can get a copy of the source and developers/contributers have to go through some very careful scrutiny before they are allowed to start uploading code?

3. People will need to get their software only from official repositories and can't google for a driver just anywhere and install it on fear it may contain a virus. Which would make it harder for people to find drivers for their hardware (and thus maybe cut the Linux user base a bit - catch-22 here?) or manufacturers will have to start writing more drivers for Linux.

Will all 3 happen? Has this already been in place for years and the reason why Linux doesn't contain viruses?

How will the Linux community further security? Is it prepared for a spike in userbase?
RavenLX
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:00 am

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby cwsnyder on Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:44 pm

Have you actually looked at the virus scanners native to Linux? Both AVG and Clamscan are available which I have used, and there are others. Yes, they are mostly looking for Windows based viruses, but also any threats to the host system.

Many, if not most, of the threats to iOS, Android, and OS X are not virus or Trojan based, but are instead social engineering type threats in which the victims are convinced to give up their information freely. Those type of threats attack all operating systems, as long as they browse the web.
LMDE Mate 64-bit, LM16 Mate 64-bit
Debian Xfce 64-bit, Xubuntu 13.10 64-bit, Xubuntu Trusty Tahr 64-bit, Antergos Xfce 64-bit, PCLinuxOS LXDE 64-bit
cwsnyder
Level 6
Level 6
 
Posts: 1039
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:49 am
Location: Nappanee, IN, USA

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby RavenLX on Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:23 pm

Well, I downloaded an AVG .deb package, double-clicked to install it and didn't find any evidence of it in the menus or anywhere so I uninstalled it. Went to ClamAV and couldn't find anything for Linux. I tried Bit-something or other and they had me enter my email for a "free license". Never heard from them in over 24 hours. I downloaded and installed COMODO Antivirus. That I may have to remove because every time I run it I have to go through the terminal to run a diagnostic, compile something and then something doesn't work. (I would have to go through the process over again to get more detailed but I think I'll just uninstall it). So that doesn't work either.

I read somewhere that if you do online banking and don't have an anti-virus installed, then they won't refund your money if your ID or account is stolen. It wasn't a bank site, it was on a forum somewhere (so to take with grain of salt?)

Quite honestly I don't know of any threats other than maybe rootkits right now, if that. However, I wonder what will happen in the future as more people are dissatisfied with Windows and decide to switch over to Linux. Will the criminals follow along and start working on ways for that as well? Like if someone downloads a "driver" they think will make hardware work or a program they need and it contains a rootkit or something instead?

That's basically what I'm wondering about for the future.
RavenLX
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:00 am

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby Orbmiser on Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:01 pm

"Quite honestly I don't know of any threats other than maybe rootkits right now, if that. However, I wonder what will happen in the future as more people are dissatisfied with Windows and decide to switch over to Linux. Will the criminals follow along and start working on ways for that as well? "


Quite frankly I don't worry about some pie in the sky maybe future. I worry about today & tomorrow about learning my OS and educating myself on proper safe practices on any computer or OS.

And consider it Way Over Kill for a desktop user to install Anti-virus on a Linux desktop unless they are running a server or on a network with window machines. My windows side is a different matter and have all the tools to protect myself. Haven't been infected in over 5 years. As a result of doing the necessary system checking and practicing safe web browsing and paying attention what I click on.
.
User avatar
Orbmiser
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1513
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:16 pm
Location: Portland,Oregon

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby RavenLX on Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:49 pm

I'd like to hear some comments about banks not refunding money if the person doesn't have a virus scanner installed?

I remember in Windows a few months back I had to switch from Firefox to Chrome because there was a stubborn trojan I got from the official download of Firefox (I googled and others were reporting the same thing) so I stopped using FIrefox. I guess it'd be safe in Linux but now my bookmarks, etc. are all in Google Bookmarks and Chrome. But anyway, it was a recent event.

I did some googling and found some interesting articles:

Meet Linux Viruses (July 26, 2012): http://www.unixmen.com/meet-linux-viruses/

Why Linux Will Never Suffer From Viruses Like Windows (September 4, 2012): http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Why-Linu ... e-Windows/
This one is good as it details some good points on how LInux is more secure and thus may not need a virus scanner (where the previous article takes on a more cautious tone).

With the rise of the Linux desktop, will viruses follow? (September 4, 2012): http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/openso ... ollow/3818
This one is also mentioning how Linux, by design is more secure. however, as of when I write this (and poll results change). There are a good 30% that feel that there will be a rise in Linux Viruses where almost equal amount of people voted otherwise or doubtful. So the users that voted, it was more or less 50-50-ish confidence.

Myth Busting: Is Linux Immune to Viruses? (February 9, 2010 - OLD): https://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/2 ... to-viruses
The only reason I'm mentioning it is at the near bottom of the article it mentions rootkits and the rkhunter tool, which maybe some may find useful.

How to write a Linux virus in 5 easy steps (February 11, 2009 - OLD): http://www.geekzone.co.nz/foobar/6229
Scroll down to You don't need to be root to 0wn someone. There are some interesting points made in that paragraph. DISCLAIMER: I don't recommend nor condone anyone actually try to do what is in that article. It's just for reference only.

I personally think the threat is real that someone could unknowingly pick up something that would capture their password to their bank or credit card and cause some really bad, irreparable financial damage. And while I don't know my bank's policy, I've read some concerns that some banks are requiring a virus scanner installed on computers that do online banking or if the customer loses money then they won't be reimbursed or charges waved, causing potential financial ruin. I don't think banks should put that on the user because even users can't guarantee anything.

FWIW, I uninstalled COMODO as it doesn't work. Being an ex-Windoze user, I am still trying to get the piece of mind I had (maybe even mistakenly) that the computer was not likely to be compromised (as mentioned above, it was anyway and from an official source).

Call me paranoid, but I think it's still something that should be kept in mind. Maybe not just users but developers as well. So those that want it, can have it and those that don't, it won't be installed by default...
RavenLX
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:00 am

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby mmix on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:17 pm

FYI, avast! Linux Home Edition The Home Edition is offered free of charge but only for home, non-commercial use.
http://www.avast.com/linux-home-edition
mmix
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:02 am

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby RavenLX on Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:59 am

Thank you. Hopefully they will send me a free license key. I tried to do that with BitDefender and they never sent a key. Avast is for 1 year, hope they will renew the free one for free after a year is up?

Anyway, I'll give this one a go, more out of curiosity and in case my bank ever asks, etc.
RavenLX
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:00 am

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby RavenLX on Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:18 am

Update: Avast doesn't work with Mint either. After doing an update, it says "An error occurred in avast! engine: Invalid argument" and continued to do so and not run after closing those dialogs and trying to reopen it. So I went through the whole thing again using kdesu avastgui and same results. So that won't run. Have to uninstall. What other ones should I try?

So far:

ClamAV - can't find a linux download link
BitDefender - never sent a license key
Comodo - errors that resulted in a loop where you have to compile some module and then it still doesn't work.
Avast! (See above) - Won't run after downloading update.
RavenLX
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:00 am

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby cwsnyder on Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:23 am

If you want Clamav for Mint, either use a package manager or search Software Manager for clamav for the command line interface (freshclam, clamscan, etc.) or clamtk if you want something to show up in your menu. Remember, for ease of development and distribution over multiple platforms, many utilities such as the AVG virus scanner are Command Line Interface only.

Windows this ain't. But then you should have known that when you went to Mint, right? :lol:
LMDE Mate 64-bit, LM16 Mate 64-bit
Debian Xfce 64-bit, Xubuntu 13.10 64-bit, Xubuntu Trusty Tahr 64-bit, Antergos Xfce 64-bit, PCLinuxOS LXDE 64-bit
cwsnyder
Level 6
Level 6
 
Posts: 1039
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:49 am
Location: Nappanee, IN, USA

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby zerozero on Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:27 am

this link might be of use viewtopic.php?f=61&t=108103&p=609091
User avatar
zerozero
Level 16
Level 16
 
Posts: 6435
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby xenopeek on Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:36 pm

zerozero wrote:this link might be of use viewtopic.php?f=61&t=108103&p=609091

That's 6 months old, so could probably do with an redo :wink:
Forum Rules | IRC Channel Rules
Image
Arch Linux / 64-bit / Gnome Shell
User avatar
xenopeek
Level 21
Level 21
 
Posts: 13653
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:58 am
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby nomko on Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:42 pm

This explains when and when not we, as Linux users, need a virusscanner: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 91#p618715
ASUS P5KPL-AM SE*Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q8200*4 GiB ram*nVidia GeForce 9500GT*Realtek RTL8101/8102E*Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7200A*HDD:Samsung HD501LJ/HD103SI*Sitecom X5-N600 Router (WLR-5100)*Mint 16

Copy.com

I don't need Google, my wife knows everthing!
User avatar
nomko
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:28 pm
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby sammiev on Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:29 pm

RavenLX wrote:Update: Avast doesn't work with Mint either. After doing an update, it says "An error occurred in avast! engine: Invalid argument" and continued to do so and not run after closing those dialogs and trying to reopen it. So I went through the whole thing again using kdesu avastgui and same results. So that won't run. Have to uninstall. What other ones should I try?

So far:

ClamAV - can't find a linux download link
BitDefender - never sent a license key
Comodo - errors that resulted in a loop where you have to compile some module and then it still doesn't work.
Avast! (See above) - Won't run after downloading update.



Check your PM. :D
User avatar
sammiev
Level 3
Level 3
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby mfluder on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:40 pm

mfluder
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:10 am

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby dee. on Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:40 pm

Linux needs antivirus like a fish needs a bicycle.

Someone coming from windows might find this hard to swallow, but in fact the whole idea of Antivirus Software is conceptually flawed. They arguably do more harm than good - they cause all kinds of problems, and in the end, they're not even all that good at doing what they're supposed to - catching malware.

You see, Antivirus companies deal in Fear. They have so ingrained it to the windows users that using an Antivirus is some kind of inherent part of using a computer - a necessary evil, like, it's not fun but you have to do it or your computer goes bork. The very idea that a computer operating system could be designed in such a way that it doesn't require Antivirus seems to be totally alien to most windows users. Antivirus companies are running a protection racket. They tell you frightening stories about malware, viruses, phishing and such and then sell you the solution. It's like the tiger rock - buy this rock to keep tigers away. How does it work? No idea, but there's no tigers around so it must be effective.

And now Antivirus companies are trying to bring their products to linux. The truth is, they're scared about the recent poor performance of windows, because they are largely in bed with microsoft - they have been having a symbiotic relationship: microsoft keeps their OS insecure and vulnerable, and thus enables the business model of Antivirus companies, and anti-virus companies allow microsoft to write sloppy code, by patching it up with their band-aid solution. But now that windows 8 is tanking, the AV companies are scared - they're running to linux, trying to sell their Magical Tiger Rock to linux users, when in fact they don't even need it. Because they're scared, that if windows goes, so goes their business, so they're hoping that they can pull of a magic trick to blind people to the fact that they are completely unnecessary on linux.
dee.
Level 4
Level 4
 
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:29 pm

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby sammiev on Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:53 pm

I would recommend a AV. Read on what mine picked up in Linux. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1992822

I would think a person would be a fool to run without.
User avatar
sammiev
Level 3
Level 3
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby Orbmiser on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:33 am

Not relevant to a linux virus issue. As pointed out in your post on ubuntu.

Actually it isn't a virus. It looks like you cached a webpage that had an infection so bitdefender deleted that page. You might have gotten the infection had you been on Windows and if you were vulnerable to whatever it was but it looks like you're fine.

edit: Looks like you probably visited a hacked site that was opening it in a hidden iframe. Clear your browser cache and that's as much "cleaning" as is necessary


Which is true it wasn't a virus or a virus intended for linux and would have done nothing to your linux system.
And having browser cached cleaned automatically on shutdown would have solved the issue.
.
User avatar
Orbmiser
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1513
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:16 pm
Location: Portland,Oregon

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby dee. on Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:19 pm

sammiev wrote:I would recommend a AV. Read on what mine picked up in Linux. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1992822

I would think a person would be a fool to run without.


I've been running linux for 2 years without any kind of anti-virus and I've yet to catch a single malware infection. Am I a fool?

If you're reasonably careful, don't run any programs from untrusted sources, and don't run anything as root unless absolutely necessary, you'll be fine. If you want to be extra secure, disable Java in your browser, install Adblock to block ads, and install Noscript to block javascript/flash/etc for webpages unless you give them permissions. This blocks out the most important infection vectors for malware (that leaves only email, but that's not a problem on linux since linux doesn't execute files without +x bits, so any disguised attachments in emails are not going to work).

However running an antivirus program is totally unnecessary and does more harm than good.
dee.
Level 4
Level 4
 
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:29 pm

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby sammiev on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:50 pm

dee. wrote:
sammiev wrote:I would recommend a AV. Read on what mine picked up in Linux. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1992822

I would think a person would be a fool to run without.


I've been running linux for 2 years without any kind of anti-virus and I've yet to catch a single malware infection. Am I a fool?

If you're reasonably careful, don't run any programs from untrusted sources, and don't run anything as root unless absolutely necessary, you'll be fine. If you want to be extra secure, disable Java in your browser, install Adblock to block ads, and install Noscript to block javascript/flash/etc for webpages unless you give them permissions. This blocks out the most important infection vectors for malware (that leaves only email, but that's not a problem on linux since linux doesn't execute files without +x bits, so any disguised attachments in emails are not going to work).

However running an antivirus program is totally unnecessary and does more harm than good.


I got caught on looking at peoples wallpaper. Good Luck with your setup as I use all the same addons and more.
User avatar
sammiev
Level 3
Level 3
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Will Linux need a virus scanner?

Postby dee. on Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:14 pm

sammiev wrote:I got caught on looking at peoples wallpaper. Good Luck with your setup as I use all the same addons and more.


You "got caught"? How exactly did you get caught? :?
dee.
Level 4
Level 4
 
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:29 pm

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 
Next

Return to Chat about Linux

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests