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would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:06 am
by coder123
Hey guys so the one thing that scares me about promoting Linux is the possibility of increase Linux viruses because if you think about the fact we don't have to worry as much (if at all) about viruses with Linux is it because 99.9% of of viruses are made for windows since the majority of the world still uses windows. Or do you think Linux distros will end up like Mac in the sense that although it's relatively popular you still won't have to worry about viruses?

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:14 am
by Ark987
This is premise is just a speculation, but I think if Linux is to become so popular it will have the same fate as Android. Maybe not exactly the same since there are no vendor locking in Linux (not willing to upgrade versions) but at least the amount of threats could increase over time.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:34 am
by Pjotr
A rather technical point: more viruses: no, but more other malware: yes.

With other malware I mean all malicious software that doesn't spread "semi-automatically" from computer to computer, but bad stuff that's hidden in software from other sources than the official repo's. You know, the nice screensaver or cool icon theme that you download and install yourself. Or that fantastic Firefox add-on from unknown origin, which you install yourself.

Note that AV software won't protect you from that effectively, but rather constitutes a threat of its own:
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=198545

So "best practice" in a situation of widespread Linux will be the same as it is now: don't install anything from unofficial sources (with only a few careful exceptions), don't install AV and above all: use your common sense. Relax, you're running Linux.... :mrgreen:

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:36 am
by BigEasy
If Linux users became working everytime with administrators rights as they somehow do in Windows, then, yes, viruses will increase. You know, most terrible virus called "no brain". There is no cure against it.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:58 am
by Pjotr
BigEasy wrote:You know, most terrible virus called "no brain". There is no cure against it.
Very true. PEBKAC, or "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens" (Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain, as Friedrich Schiller aptly put it). :mrgreen:

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:12 am
by coder123
Forgot to add that personally I think it would become as vulnerable to viruses as mac is now. (because they both have the strong unix base)

Edit: Actually I personally think being as vulnerable as mac is now would be the worst case scenario because unlike mac, Linux is open to the public to patch up. Never thought about it that way until now.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:24 am
by Cosmo.
coder123 wrote:one thing that scares me about promoting Linux is the possibility of increase Linux viruses
Do you mean: It is better to not promote Linux because of this fear?
No, it is not better, the world wide web is unsafe, because there are too many vulnerable systems (wrong system, wrong usage).
Would you also say, it is better, if my neighbors have a bad security for their real-world home, so that the burglars go there and not to me?
Criminals do exist since humans exist. The only way to eliminate them would be to eliminate the humans. Surely not even a theoretical option.
And another - I admit, very sarcastic - real-world comparison: Would you say, that we should reduce the number of human beings and animals, so that bacteria and viruses don't find so many hosts? Should the world build thick and high walls around Saudi-Arabia and Korea to fight against Mers for preventing anybody getting in or out?

Malware authors are nowadays mostly professionals and of course they concentrate, where they can achieve the "best" results. And if you look at the situation of servers (where the market share for Linux is far bigger) than you see, that Linux systems get attacked. Would you say, that those systems should switch away from Linux? Would switching to a weaker system improve the situation?

But taking a look at the situation at now shows also, that the existence of tremendous numbers of Windows malware does not mean, that necessarily each and every Windows system gets successfully attacked. It is possible to harden a Windows system. It is a mixture of wrong or misunderstandable information, the users get, wrong understandings on the site of the users and laziness, that makes the situation for Windows users so bad.
Therefor very most users in this (and most other Linux forums) deny questions, how to decrease the security of Linux by getting permanent root, disable the password requests of the system and so on.

Further more I am very sure, that if the situation arises, that more malware gets thrown over Linux desktop systems, there will come solutions against that. But don't halt your breath until this gets necessary - you would be dead before.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:42 am
by 1.618
The reason windows has so many viruses is becuase your average user uses the default account with administration rights permanently enabled until they decide to change them, meaning any tom dick or harry can aproach their workstation and install anything they like, can delete and edit config files and can do all this remotely too.... the difference with linux is you don't have root/admin priviliges permanently enabled, they requiring invoking via the root password... sure someone can still sit at my pc and delete personal data like mp3s films and pictures but they can't install/edit/delete anything without my root/admin key......

That said, one should still practice safe computing behaviours, only install from trusted sources, harden your browser, install addons like no script and adblocker to lower your vunerability even further, and use encryption, don't go visiting loads of dodgy adult sites... malware from these sources is not the fault of linux, it's the fault of the user not being vigilant enough. If in doubt, click 'cancel' and double check your sources, do a google search, dig a little

Is it wise to promote linux - absolutely!! but also promote the reasons why windows is so vunerable and offer some guidance alongside like - be sensible with your computing - and there is nothing to worry about

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:43 am
by niowluka
Viruses no, but I will assume that you meant security issues in general.

In this respect the answer is yes, if Linux were to achieve a significant market share then it would become a target for more criminals, who always end up finding new methods of getting their way.

Two caveats:
- personally, I don't think Linux ever will get to that stage, at least not in a foreseeable future
- even if it does, it will probably never be as bad as Windows

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:14 am
by Habitual
Linux is only secure as the nut behind the keyboard.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:11 am
by BenTrabetere
I do not foresee Linux becoming as popular as Windows or even OS X anything soon ... if ever. It has (a lot) less to do with the quality and benefits of Linux and (a lot) more to do with how the retail market works. In order for LInux to have a large percentage of the desktop market big box electronics stores will be offering brand-name (Lenovo, Dell, HP, Acer, Sony) computers with Linux pre-installed. And that ain't gonna happen.

But if Pigasus ever takes to the skies....

As others have stated, the problem will be the person behind the keyboard, not Linux itself. If Linux becomes so widespread that it starts to attract those inhabiting lower rungs, malware and destructive stupidity will increase because it will be attractive to the fiends who prey on people who click the 'Click to Install' button.

My dear mother, is a good example. Shortly after Windows 8 hit the street one of her friends told her she needed to "upgrade her Windows," and so she purchased a copy and tried to install it ... on her Mac. When she asked me to do something about her "computer was running slow," I found that she was running both Norton AV and McAfee AV (thanks Comcast). She had also installed "helper" programs for Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, several toolbars for Safari, and saved everything to the desktop.

People like my mother would not hesitate to enter a password to give permission to a nasty, would disable passwords altogether if someone showed her how to do it, would try to install Windows on a Mac. People like my mother would make a mess of Linux.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:21 am
by niowluka
BenTrabetere wrote:I found that she was running both Norton AV and McAfee AV (thanks Comcast). She had also installed "helper" programs for Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, several toolbars for Safari, and saved everything to the desktop.
Mum-fix: non-administrator account. Tried and tested.

Even-better-mum-fix: Linux Mint. My mum is 64 and she barely noticed the switch from XP (obviously I do all the behind-the-scenes).

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:36 pm
by mrdachshund86
There's no reason not to promote Linux, other than if the person you are trying to promote Linux to are already happy with what they have. As far as malware and viruses go, Linux has a lot of features (such as repositories, needing to authenticate administrative actions, etc.) that make it much safer to use. Greater exposure will also mean more contributors, and therefore more eyes, to look for vulnerabilities that could be used to compromise a Linux system. Also, a lot of servers already run Linux, so to say that Linux systems are not tempting targets is a complete myth. So, the answer to your question is that, no, I don't think that more users necessarily makes Linux more dangerous. So keep telling all your friends about Linux Mint. :)

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:13 pm
by coder123
Habitual wrote:Linux is only secure as the nut behind the keyboard.
LOL!!!


@Cosmo (and probably others)

No I'm not saying it's a reason to not promote Linux I'm just saying it's something to think about.

niowluka wrote:
BenTrabetere wrote:I found that she was running both Norton AV and McAfee AV (thanks Comcast). She had also installed "helper" programs for Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, several toolbars for Safari, and saved everything to the desktop.
Mum-fix: non-administrator account. Tried and tested.

Even-better-mum-fix: Linux Mint. My mum is 64 and she barely noticed the switch from XP (obviously I do all the behind-the-scenes).

LOL yeah find a way to set restrictions as high as possible only allowing libreoffice and web browsing.

Also I agree with you guys I think the malware writers would write malware for Linux so you'd have to be smart about what you type you password for. In fact this makes me wonder if virus definitions can become native to the OS. (meaning native AV)

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:28 pm
by z31fanatic
Linux becoming more popular will bring viruses and more malware, of course. What kind of question is that?

The same thing is happening to Mac OS now that it has 13% of the market (in the US). Lots of security holes are being discovered.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:24 am
by fraxinus_63
Many good points. @Pjotr hits one nail on the head - the main risk would not be "viruses" in the Windows sense but people being tricked into downloading malign software and updates from bogus or corrupted repositories.

This is especially an issue for distros like Mint which take advantage of a Ubuntu base, where it is so easy to add new PPAs and software sources to download stuff that looks useful or interesting.

Don't get me wrong - one of the reasons I love Mint is that it gives me access to all these wonderful sources - but we'd need to be careful. Issues like this would not arise in the same way for a distro like PCLinuxOS (which was my main distro a few years ago) where there is just one approved repo which is maintained by the team itself.

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:04 am
by Pilosopong Tasyo
Meanwhile, on the flip side of the coin...

Image

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:52 am
by Ark987
Pilosopong Tasyo wrote:Meanwhile, on the flip side of the coin...

Image
:lol: ROFL :lol: That image is an eye opener, it is even worse for people who use the web browser synchronization services and use the save password function. You don't even need to physically steal anything from them :lol: you just need a web browser because everything is in "ThE ClOuD" accessible anywhere at any time :roll: only 2-step verification could save them, but even then!

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:52 pm
by Reorx
Similar thread from about 6 months ago >>> http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=186509

See my posts there... :mrgreen:

Re: would population=more viruses for Linux?

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:15 pm
by shengchieh
If you are really, really woried about viruses, go with BSD.

Sheng-Chieh