Can a virus be put on Windows while booting Linux? [SOLVED]

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mastermind16X
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Can a virus be put on Windows while booting Linux? [SOLVED]

Post by mastermind16X »

Is it possible for a virus to latch itself onto Windows when dual booting with Linux of a program installed on Linux has a Windows virus on it?
Last edited by mastermind16X on Sat May 04, 2013 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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srs5694
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Re: Can a virus be put on Windows while booting Linux?

Post by srs5694 »

It's theoretically possible, but there are really two distinct cases:
  • A bog-standard Windows virus could run under WINE and, if WINE has access to your regular Windows partition, locate other Windows files and propagate itself to Windows in this way. I don't know how common such propagation is or could be. I do recall hearing that many viruses crash under WINE, which is hardly surprising -- the WINE developers don't exactly put much effort into getting viruses onto their list of software that runs well under WINE!
  • A dual-stage virus could theoretically be written. The first stage would run under Linux and would search for a Windows partition and deploy its second stage there. The second stage would launch from Windows and spread just like a regular Windows virus. I'm unaware of any real-world virus that's designed in this way. Again,
For added protection against both approaches, you could not mount your windows boot partition in Linux, and instead rely on a data-exchange partition in which you store user files but not executable programs. This partitioning approach is desirable for other reasons, too. Mounting any OS's boot partition in another OS is at least a little risky, since non-native filesystem drivers often contain bugs and security measures may be imperfect. You can easily erase the whole Windows installation from Linux, for instance, with a simple rm command -- something that Windows itself doesn't allow.

mastermind16X
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Re: Can a virus be put on Windows while booting Linux?

Post by mastermind16X »

So, those instances are all theoretical, and not actual at the moment. So, if there is a virus for Windows attached to a download that is downloaded onto a Linux partition it probably won't jump and spread through partitions, right?
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Re: Can a virus be put on Windows while booting Linux?

Post by Orbmiser »

mastermind16X wrote:So, those instances are all theoretical, and not actual at the moment. So, if there is a virus for Windows attached to a download that is downloaded onto a Linux partition it probably won't jump and spread through partitions, right?
Right! Don't worry about it's a far fetch theoretical concept. As Linux becomes more mainstream and some then may find the platform enticing enough to write a virus,trojan,etc.. for linux. The Biggest security risk today on Linux is the User and their actions.

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Re: Can a virus be put on Windows while booting Linux?

Post by TheForumTroll »

mastermind16X wrote:So, if there is a virus for Windows attached to a download that is downloaded onto a Linux partition it probably won't jump and spread through partitions, right?
No. First of all it had to be a Linux virus, not a Windows virus. A virus for Windows cannot run in Linux (well, maybe if you try really hard in WINE, but I doubt it). Then after it has been executed in Linux (not likely unless you do it manually) it has to access your Windows partition. Then it's in Windows and can do harm if/when you boot Windows and if those files are actually executed in Windows at all and then it has to not be caught by anti-virus. It is really highly theoretical :mrgreen:
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