Gentoo Archives: gentoo-user

From: Grant Edwards <grant.b.edwards@×××××.com>
To: gentoo-user@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-user] Re: Linux viruses
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 2013 22:42:34
Message-Id: kr7i3o$kk7$
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-user] Linux viruses by Paul Hartman
1 On 2013-07-05, Paul Hartman <paul.hartman+gentoo@×××××.com> wrote:
2 > On Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 3:12 PM, Dale <rdalek1967@×××××.com> wrote:
3 >>
4 >> I had a interesting adventure the other day. A friend of mine's son
5 >> is getting ready to go to college. Budget is tight so we went to
6 >> find a used laptop for him. I went into the local puter shop and the
7 >> techie guy there had a interesting statement that makes me think I'm
8 >> not recommending them for computer service to anyone else. While we
9 >> was chatting, he said that Linux is just as prone to getting a virus
10 >> as windoze and so is a Mac. I think my laughing let him know I
11 >> wasn't buying his comment.
12 >>
13 >> I since did some googling and it seems I am right and he just thought
14 >> I was some know nothing guy he could sell some service too. Anyway,
15 >> has anything changed to make Linux more prone to viruses than it used
16 >> to be? I read a percentage somewhere that said like 99% of viruses
17 >> are windoze only. Is there a indisputable source of information on
18 >> this?
19 >
20 > There have absolutely been viruses and various root exploits for
21 > Linux systems, but to say it is even 1% as many as Windows would
22 > probably be a massive overstatement.
23 >
24 > Not that Linux or Mac are necessarily inherently more secure than
25 > Windows,
27 Well, I'm pretty sure that was the case for Linux for most of the past
28 20 years. People who's opinions I trust tell me that Windows security
29 has vastly improved in the past few years. Even so, a 90% reduction
30 in security issues in Windows still leaves them at least a factor of
31 10 worse that most all recent Linux distros that are installed and
32 updated with even minimal competence.
34 That said, even Linux has exploits. Once upon a time about 12 years
35 ago, one of my Linux boxes got rooted. That machine was still using
36 dial-up (no firewall). It had an external modem with tx/rx LEDs, and
37 I always made sure the modem was sitting in plain site.
39 One day I noticed the tx/rx LEDs start flashing when there shouldn't
40 have been any network traffic. I disconnected the phone line, and
41 after some investigation found a root-kit had been installed. I
42 powered off the machine, signed up for DSL (which included a modem
43 with a router/firewall), wiped the disk, and reinstalled the OS.
45 Haven't had a problem since then... [Famous last words.]
47 Never trust a modem/router/firewall without tx/rx LEDs. Of course
48 these days there are so many devices on the network that are phoning
49 home to check for firmware updates, get TV schedule info, check the
50 weather, and report everything I do to the NSA that there's network
51 traffic 24/7 regardless of what I'm doing.
53 --
54 Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! Send your questions to
55 at ``ASK ZIPPY'', Box 40474,
56 San Francisco, CA 94140,
57 USA