Viruses on Linux Mint

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Weeping Cookie
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Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Weeping Cookie » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:40 pm

I read that anti-virus isn't really necessary or needed on Linux, or Linux Mint. However, there are still viruses that affect Linux.

So my question is how would I know if I had a virus on Linux. How does it behave as opposed to windows.

How would I find it and remove it, and how to check for them in general?

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by earthlingkc » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:54 pm

Might do a search.

You'll find you don't need to use any Linux virus apps, they probably just makes things worse. Linux is probably more susceptible to hacking into existing system/core apps than viruses and you can reduce chances of hacking to nearest zero by keeping Mint up to date via the Update Manager and maybe using the firewall if paranoid. Otherwise best to use Linux standard software repositories, download apps from well known sources, etc.

Is possible using Wine (Windows Emulator) can get Windows viruses to access local files under the Linux account using Wine but likely not root access. There are ways to lock that down, which you can search for. Would be nice if Wine had an option to show a Run Permission dialog for any attempted execution by default but there are ways to lock down Wine apps.

Also use a well maintained browser like Firefox or Chrome and keep it up to date.
Last edited by earthlingkc on Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Weeping Cookie
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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Weeping Cookie » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:00 pm

I see.

Thank you for the tip.

Firefox is auto-updated by the update manager and so is chrome right?
Last edited by Weeping Cookie on Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Pjotr » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:03 pm

You might find this article interesting, that I've written about security in Linux Mint:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... t/security
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19.2 Tina
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
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Weeping Cookie
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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Weeping Cookie » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:06 pm

Will do.

earthlingkc
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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by earthlingkc » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:17 pm

Weeping Cookie wrote:I see.

Thank you for the tip.

Firefox is auto-updated by the update manager and so is chrome right?
Firefox yes. If you use Chromium installed from the repositories it will auto update. If you use Chrome installed by Google download, it should install the repository entry to auto update. In Update Manger, check Software Sources -> Additional Repositories and check that there is an entry for Google Chrome. Chrome will auto update if there.

edit: BTW, check for other "Additional Repositories" and make sure you know/trust the source for all entries. IE I have Virtualbox entry as well.
Last edited by earthlingkc on Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by pdhunter1987 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:22 pm

Windows is very susceptible to viruses, like a person with a low immune system.

I believe it's not too much of concern for Linux users, however I believe their are some out there and chances to get infected.

I would say through wine, maybe using files brought over from windows might infect your system, then again could be wrong.

I personally don't run an anti virus program, on windows when you needed one, they totally messed up my system.

There are anti virus programs, free and paid for Linux though if you are interested.
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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Reorx » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:17 pm

One other thing to consider is what you would like to do about possible browser hijacking... Prevention (like NoScript) or reaction (like deleting your browser profile). If you pick the latter, you might also consider periodically backing up the profile for possible restoration later. your call...
Last edited by Reorx on Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Full time Linux Mint user since 2011 - Currently running LM19 Cinnamon.

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Weeping Cookie
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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Weeping Cookie » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:22 pm

Looks like for repositories it has CD Rom, Google, and Plex, but thats it.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by earthlingkc » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:28 pm

Weeping Cookie wrote:Looks like for repositories it has CD Rom, Google, and Plex, but thats it.
So keep in mind when you have 'Additional Repositories' entries you are allowing them to install anything they want on your system when updating an app pointed to that repository. It's up to you which sources you trust. Not a high risk with well known sources, but keep that in mind.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Weeping Cookie » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:50 pm

No problem, thanks for the tip! :D

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by jimallyn » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:53 pm

I have been using Linux for 14 years, and have never used any kind of anti-virus. None of my Linux computers have ever been infected with any virus or other malware, nor has the computer of any Linux user I know of. (And having been active in Linux forums the entire 14 years, I know of a LOT of Linux users. Thousands.) I won't say that it's impossible to get infected with a virus on Linux, I'll just say that it's currently pretty unlikely.
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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by lexon » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:50 pm

Same here. Been using Linux since 2003. Once in a while I go into the Spam folder for a email that I know is Spam. I see how well the site is like the real one. When I get down to Contact Us, the email address is no good, every time.
I know someone is Phishing so I send forward the email to PayPal. They gave me a link a couple years ago for this.
Have not seen one of these in maybe four weeks and use to get one a week. Gmail is really good at picking them out. Yahoo email is not near as good.
I get some that "appear" to be from PayPal. Just never click on any log in link. A couple sometimes have an attachment, exe file which will not run in Linux.
I have one laptop with Mint for playing around and no personal files in it.
I use a plugin external drive with all my files with my other laptop.
Two large flash drives back up that hard drive.

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Lindows, Linspire, Freespire, Ubuntu, Mint 15 Cinnamon, Mint 16 XFCE, Mint 17 Cinnamon 64 bit. MInt 18 64 bit Cinnamon.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Tech Freak » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:49 am

Weeping Cookie wrote:I read that anti-virus isn't really necessary or needed on Linux, or Linux Mint. However, there are still viruses that affect Linux.

So my question is how would I know if I had a virus on Linux. How does it behave as opposed to windows.

How would I find it and remove it, and how to check for them in general?
I don't think you should be afraid of viruses meant for Linux, you should be aware for viruses hidden in files, images and (any) executable file meant for Windows. Although Linus differs very much from Windows, any file stored on a Linux system will not be altered by Linux in any way. So if no file will be altered, this also means that infected files will keep their original "footprint". So if you have an infected file (Windows Trojan/virus/malware/etc.) stored on your Linux system and you send it to someone with a Windows system, don't get surprised to hear that the file you send infected that Windows system.

The biggest thread here aren't Linux viruses, the biggest thread here are files infected with crap meant for Windows systems. And if you transfer a lot of files between yourself and Windows users, it is wise to use an anti-virus tool to check files before sending them. You can use ClamtAV and ClamTK (GUI interface for ClamAV) for this.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Pjotr » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:47 pm

Tech Freak wrote:if you transfer a lot of files between yourself and Windows users, it is wise to use an anti-virus tool to check files before sending them. You can use ClamtAV and ClamTK (GUI interface for ClamAV) for this.
I disagree:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... dows-users
(item 4, right column)
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19.2 Tina
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Tech Freak » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:46 am

Pjotr wrote:
Tech Freak wrote:if you transfer a lot of files between yourself and Windows users, it is wise to use an anti-virus tool to check files before sending them. You can use ClamtAV and ClamTK (GUI interface for ClamAV) for this.
I disagree:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... dows-users
(item 4, right column)
I've read that article and without any references to (known/supported) websites/authors, this article looks to me nothing more than just a personal "I know it better" story. I have gone through your site and although it looks pretty nice, I miss references to other sites/forums to check and verify your hints/tips/tricks which to me is a higher security risk than a Linux virus. Some items can be checked and verified but there's a lot on your site which require fiddling in your system settings and that can be, for the inexperienced users, a high potential risk of damaging your Linux installation.

I've googled your name with the extra options antivirus and Linux mint and although you stick to your "install no anti-virus tools", you seems to forget to add a valid reason and pointing out to your personal site lacking any references isn't a valid reason to me. And beside the fact that you're basically the only person here who tries to force people your opinion, I question your true reason.

Just a few examples:
a. In Linux, the executability of a file is not determined by an extension (like for example .exe in Windows), but by the permissions adhering to this file. Each newly created file is by default not executable under Linux, and the user will first need to make this file executable by an explicit action.
Agree with the part that executable (Windows) files doesn't work on Linux. But what happens if you send an infected .exe file from your Linux machine to a Windows user??
d. Virus scanners scan mainly for Windows viruses. These viruses don't work in Linux.
Agree, but checking your files before sending them to a Windows user prevent spreading viruses and avoids getting blamed for infecting your friends Windows system (and beside that giving Linux a bad name, do the math).
f. Installing antivirus might lead people to mistakenly suppose that it's safe now to install software from other sources than the official software sources of their Linux.
And why would the "official" software source be safe? Just remember that hack on the Mint servers few months ago...
a. Running antivirus in Linux is a useless waste of system resources. Resources that can be put to better use, for example making your system more responsive.
Running heavy duty applications also slows down your system if you don't have enough resources to run them. Running Anti-virus tools can't use that much resources.
e. Virus scanners often issue false warnings. Possibly intentionally, to make the user feel good about the presence of the scanner. This induces people to needlessly damage their system.
And they don't give any false warnings under Windows??

And I can go on like this but the main point here is, if someone feels himself/herself more secure running anti-virus on Linux, who are you (and me and anybody else) to tell him/her otherwise? It's their system, their machine, their decision. So, to all, if you feel like it's safer to use anti-virus, please do so! It's, after all, your decision and your system ;)

Ps.: Pjotr, no hard feelings, no offence! I just throw in my 2 cents.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by jimallyn » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:52 am

You're entitled to your opinion, of course, Tech Freak, but for the record, I have never heard anybody accuse Pjotr of steering them wrong.
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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Tech Freak » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:57 am

jimallyn wrote:You're entitled to your opinion, of course, Tech Freak, but for the record, I have never heard anybody accuse Pjotr of steering them wrong.
I am not accusing Pjotr of anything. I only point out that fiddling with your system without deeper knowledge and understanding can do more harm than a Linux virus which is rare to find on the internet.

And beside that, anything on his website should be read and executed with precaution since there's no reference to were he gets his info from and therefore it can not be checked/verified if the info really works and what to do in case if anything goes wrong.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Pjotr » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:12 am

@Tech Freak: my website isn't meant as a scientific essay with footnotes for everything; it's simply meant to provide easy and effective how-to's. Which I've tested myself first.

Those how-to's are based on my personal experience, during a decade of fulltime Linux desktop use. My approach is (nearly) always conservative and prudent; stability first. That's the only guarantee you have.

On my website, I share my knowledge and experience. If people wish to profit from that, they are free to do so. And they're equally free to disregard it, of course. As you said: it's everyone's own system, own machine, own decision. No hard feelings either way. :)

Neither do I pretend to spread absolute wisdom and absolute truth. In order to make that quite clear, I've placed this link on all of my web pages: https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... disclaimer

Now that's out of the way, let me address some of the things you say about antivirus in Linux.
And why would the "official" software source be safe? Just remember that hack on the Mint servers few months ago...
That's comparing apples and oranges. That website hack of Linux Mint did not concern the repo's. Entirely different kettle of fish.
checking your files before sending them to a Windows user prevent spreading viruses and avoids getting blamed for infecting your friends Windows system (and beside that giving Linux a bad name, do the math).
In the link I gave, I address that (sections b and c). For clarity's sake (others read this as well), I'll copy/paste the entire fragment:

Misconception: protection of Windows users

4. Occasionally somebody proclaims the following misconception: "I use antivirus in Linux, so that I can't accidentally pass on a Windows virus to a Windows user. For example by e-mail attachments".

This is a misconception because of the following reasons:

a. Running antivirus in Linux is a useless waste of system resources. Resources that can be put to better use, for example making your system more responsive.

One of the advantages of running Linux is not having to weigh down your system with antivirus. It would be rather counterproductive to move to a virus-free operating system, if we end up running all of the antivirus crud anyway...

And it adds insult to injury, to do so for the sake of an operating system whose owner actually chooses to let it be security-deficient.

If a Windows user can't be bothered to guard his own system against threats that are the result of shortcomings in his own operating system, then the efforts of the comparatively small base of Linux users aren't going to make a shred of difference. Such a Windows user will unavoidably get infected from somewhere else.

In fact, I believe that Windows has to lie in the bed it makes for itself. I'm not trying to be harsh here: it's more the principle that consequences must fall to the appropriate party, or else there is no incentive for change.

Therefore, unless a Linux user is running a public web/mail/file server (clearly not your average user), I strongly discourage the installation of antivirus, because doing so continues to silently endorse one of the worst aspects of operating system design.

In fact, you'll find that the "protection of Windows users" fallacy is sometimes used as an excuse, by people who irrationally can't believe that Linux really doesn't need antivirus for itself....

(With thanks to DuckHook from Ubuntuforums.org, for kindly allowing the use of this text)

b. If you want to reduce the chance of passing on a Windows virus by e-mail, than you can achieve that by sending e-mails with attachments by means of Gmail.

Then Google automatically scans the attachments for viruses, trojans and other malware. With a professional up to date virus scanner, on the servers of Gmail itself. A Gmail account is free, so you need to have no worries about costs....

When you enable POP3 support in Gmail, you can even use Thunderbird or Evolution for it.

Note: nowadays every good e-mail service (so not only Gmail) scans automatically for Windows viruses, on the servers of the e-mail provider.

c. Another possibility is the use of this free web service, which is the property of Google: VirusTotal.com.
https://www.virustotal.com/

It uses a whole bunch of antivirus engines to scan every file that you feed to it, for viruses and other malicious software. That simultaneous use of multiple engines makes it the very best and most effective scan there is.
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19.2 Tina
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

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Re: Viruses on Linux Mint

Post by Cosmo. » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:02 am

Tech Freak wrote:I've read that article and without any references to (known/supported) websites/authors .... I miss references to other sites/forums to check and verify your hints/tips/tricks which to me is a higher security risk than a Linux virus.
There is a famous word saying, that somebody, who sits in a glass house, must not throw with stones. - You ask for references, but where are yours? You write:
Tech Freak wrote:Running Anti-virus tools can't use that much resources.
"Can't use" does not look like a proved assertion. Fact is that AV-programs do use resources, the more they check, the more resources they need. It cannot work without using resources.
Tech Freak wrote:But what happens if you send an infected .exe file from your Linux machine to a Windows user??
...
checking your files before sending them to a Windows user prevent spreading viruses and avoids getting blamed for infecting your friends Windows system
How often do you send an executable to somebody and how often in comparison to that does the receiver download executables on its own? I cannot remember when I did send an executable to somebody, usually I send user files (documents, pictures and so on). Your scenario is far from realistic. Further more the Windows user is expected to protect his / her system, this is not the task of the Linux user. If the AV-program on the Windows system should not be able to find the hypothetical thread, there is something wrong with this AV-program on the Windows computer; in this case the Windows system will likely get attacked sooner or later.
If you have really the need to send an executable to a Windows user, you still have the possibility to check them at first by an online service. BTW: Regardless which person would send me an executable: I would never touch it. Binaries have to get obtained from their original and official sources (web sites). Everybody who ignores this rule is at risk to corrupt his / her system; this is solely in the responsibility of the receiver of the files.
Tech Freak wrote:And why would the "official" software source be safe? Just remember that hack on the Mint servers few months ago...
You mix 2 things: The repository's server have never been affected by this hack.
Further more the binaries, which get distributed by the official repositories get compiled from their source files, which get checked. When the binaries get downloaded by the package management of the user's computer their validity gets checked by the public keys of the repository's owners.
Tech Freak wrote:And they don't give any false warnings under Windows??
Of course they do. And even worse: There have been enough cases, where a wild running AV-program made aa Windows system unusable, because the AV-program quarantined vital system files.
Tech Freak wrote:the main point here is, if someone feels himself/herself more secure running anti-virus on Linux, who are you (and me and anybody else) to tell him/her otherwise?
If anybody feels more safe with a certain measurement it does not mean, that (s)he is more safe. It merely means, that he calms his feeling. The contrary can happen, e. g. if the AV-program collects user data. This is not a theoretical risk, but has happened practically. Of course you are right if you say, that anybody is free to do what (s)he wants; this includes mistakes. Nobody says, that a user is not allowed to do mistakes. The other side of the medal is, that everybody is allowed to name mistakes and to discuss them - this includes of course also Pjotr.

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