Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

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jamesofyorkshire
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Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by jamesofyorkshire »

1) As in the title....if 'something' nasty gets into the PC when using Windows on a dual boot PC, can it make its way over to the Linux side of the hard drive somehow?

2)When using Linux Mint, can 'something' nasty that one user lets in to the system, hop across all the users> I've got 4 users on one PC. One them them hasn't a clue what she's doing so might click on something that she shouldn't, or go to a dodgy site.
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Pierre
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by Pierre »

1. NO - not as an rule.

2. again - not as an general rule - Linux is more secure than Windows is.
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trytip
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by trytip »

yes it can if you have gecko installed (the wine version of internet explorer) and you have links to your documents in winecfg. another way it can harm is if you install a virtual machine with a hacked (pirated version of windows)

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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by jamesofyorkshire »

I don't think I have 'Wine' or 'Gecko' installed.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by I2k4 »

My main concern would be for browsers and browser based email or messaging services, which can be cross platform (like Firefox, Opera, or Chrome/Chromium) and be synchronized between boots. I run malware scans on Windows, that might detect a bad extension or hack on that OS, but nothing similar would prevent Mint picking up an infection that carries over to Windows on next boot. My personal use case doesn't include chancy websites or browser communication pals, and I have a few protective settings and extensions installed, but not true for some users.

Another common dual boot set up is to mount the Windows C drive (partition) for Mint access to documents, media, images, etc. for software using all the standard file types or for use with cross-platform software: LibreOffice, VLC media player, a lot of photo and video editing software for Linux also has a Windows version so work on the same files. Since Windows cannot access the Linux file system, and Mint can access Windows NTFS, etc. very well, it's the usual thing to keep "common" document and media storage in the Windows partition or drive. As with browser, more likely a Mint user could save an infected file to the Windows storage and it could do its harm when activated on the Windows boot. If that's a concern, Windows permissions should be set to lock out Mint user access to the C:\\ drive.

UPDATE 190823: This above warning about mounting Windows C:\\ in Mint obviously applies equally to mounting and saving a file to an independent drive used by both OSs. For example, in Mint open an email with an infected PDF, or an MS Office document using LibreOffice, nothing happens - then store it to the Windows-readable drive or partition and boom. The likely "jump" would be something harmless to Mint is saved and makes a mess of Windows.
Last edited by I2k4 on Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:01 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by pbear »

Nothing is perfect, nothing is invincible and there's no 100% safeguard against operator error.

Two things you can do. Don't let careless user have sudo privileges. Put her browsers in Firejail.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by carum carvi »

jamesofyorkshire wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:04 am
When using Linux Mint, can 'something' nasty that one user lets in to the system, hop across all the users> I've got 4 users on one PC. One them them hasn't a clue what she's doing so might click on something that she shouldn't, or go to a dodgy site.
Well, I wouldnt trust managing my banking account and other personal information on any computer with 4 other different users, of which one of them doesnt know what she is doing.

I have posted your exact same question a year ago as well and I got the answer that a dual boot with Windows does not prevent malware from affecting LinuxMint. It can cross over.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by jamesofyorkshire »

Thanks guys for all your input.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by Pjotr »

carum carvi wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:19 pm
I have posted your exact same question a year ago as well and I got the answer that a dual boot with Windows does not prevent malware from affecting LinuxMint. It can cross over.
No it cannot. Unless you've enabled Windows to recognize, read and access EXT4 partitions.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by jglen490 »

It's difficult for malware to "jump", when an OS is not active. It's not unreasonable to assume that malware can be passed via messaging methods between OSes.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by Pjotr »

jglen490 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:34 pm
It's not unreasonable to assume that malware can be passed via messaging methods between OSes.
What messaging methods?
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by deepakdeshp »

Is the virus transfer possible with Windows as a VM?
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by Pjotr »

deepakdeshp wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:43 pm
Is the virus transfer possible with Windows as a VM?
No. Sandboxed.
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carum carvi
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by carum carvi »

Can it jump from Linux to Windows? Because Linux can read Windows NTFS format.
Or if one decides to share a home partition for Windows AND Linux with all the documents, music etc on a separate NTFS partition? Could that enable a cross over?
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by jglen490 »

Pjotr wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:41 pm
jglen490 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:34 pm
It's not unreasonable to assume that malware can be passed via messaging methods between OSes.
What messaging methods?
Try clicking on an email link that results in a malware attack - whether from Linux to Windows or Windows to Linux.

You have no idea if the link is hosted on a Linux server or Windows server, yet malware passes across the OS borders.

Does the malware "jump"? Of course not, it passes in a message. And it isn't limited by protocol, although some protocols are more likely because they are fundamentally unsecure. And that can happen between an active host OS and an active virtualized OS - it's not likely under ordinary circumstances, but never say never, simply because it is nothing but software. It's not magic.
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Pierre
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by Pierre »

in most cases, any jump, is fairly unlikely.

even if there was an bridge, say via using an cloud storage, that was accessed by both systems,
- it's still quite unlikely.

any VM Guest is in an sandboxed scenario, as is any ./wine based system.
- - so, it's still quite unlikely, there, as well.
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by all41 »

Pjotr wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:25 pm
carum carvi wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:19 pm
I have posted your exact same question a year ago as well and I got the answer that a dual boot with Windows does not prevent malware from affecting LinuxMint. It can cross over.
No it cannot. Unless you've enabled Windows to recognize, read and access EXT4 partitions.
I'm +1 on this. Show me a differing circumstance
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by pbear »

deepakdeshp wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:43 pm
Is the virus transfer possible with Windows as a VM?
gm10 discusses the issue in this thread, Virtual machine security?
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by polarvortex »

I guess if you are using NTFS and you get ransomware in windows it could encrypt all your files even on the linux side. No?
Personally I wouldn't even trust the malware known as Windows 10 to not monkey with your linux on the dual boot...
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Re: Can malware jump from Windows to Linux in a dual boot set up?

Post by Pjotr »

polarvortex wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:55 am
I guess if you are using NTFS and you get ransomware in windows it could encrypt all your files even on the linux side. No?
No, because you can't even install your Linux Mint on NTFS.

Anyway, this is my general take on security in Linux Mint:
https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.c ... urity.html
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