Aug 292011

Today I’m glad to present you an article by James Hawkins.

As the heading of this article suggests, either you are a windows or a Linux user, you aren’t safe online. We (Linux users) were happy in the past thinking that running Ubuntu or Fedora would have saved us from an “infection”, but that is not the case anymore, today any Operating System whether Mac, Linux or windows, has his own weakness,related to his vulnerabilities. We know that windows pc’s had more vulnerabilities in comparison to any other O.S in the past, but the point is that every computer over the Internet could have its own exploits, its only a matter of finding those vulnerabilities and exploiting them.

Linux users are still ‘pretty’ safe (not 100% safe) compared to windows users but with the spreading of Opens source technology there will be a growth in the number of malware released for this OS. Kapersky labs Claims, “The Growth in Linux malware is simply due to increasing popularity, particularly as a desktop Operating Systems” many users are switching to Linux, or at least trying their hands on Linux based O.S.

There are many new viruses and malware emerging over the internet which potentially have the ability to infect your Linux systems, Trojans and other rootkits are increasing day by day at an alarming rate.

We are aware about the below mentioned modes of infections for a windows based PC;

  • Infection through Email Attachment.
  • By visiting a Malicious Url.
  • By using browser based applications (add-ons or plugins)
  • Rootkits etc are the most common ways of infecting a windows pc.

But the question arises; does these methods work efficiently and infect a Linux system, and cause damage in a similar way as seen in a PC with Windows ?
The Answer to this question can be tricky; can be a YES as well as a NO.

Let’s look at an example.
Suppose that a malicious file ‘abc.exe ‘ is downloaded from a mail attachment, the file extension is .exe which in Windows usually means “is executable”, and that can run in windows and thus infect a windows system, but on the other side it might not work for the Linux system. (It xould be run using wine, but it is better not to try this, you might give it a try if you are on a virtual machine and you can save the state of the VM).

However, with an intention of infecting your Linux based computer, a file extension which is recognized by Linux system, could be used such as .deb or .rpm package, on extraction or run this might cause problems. You literally shouldn’t trust any possible file extension.

Same goes for Malicious url, better don’t have a misconception that a malicious website will only host malicious file ending with .exe or .bat extension, because nowadays, these websites might host any suspicious files, which might probably infect your Linux system.

Talking about Browser based applications: Linux is Open Source; but you can’t actually rely on every software designed for it. However, you can still trust the software’s which are hosted by the official website, it is always a risk to run software’s which is not coded by and hosted on the same website but still a reliable site could assures you that it’s safe to download it. Always trust the software that you can find in the official repository of your Distribution, these packages are usually tested and checked regularly, in the past some repository have been hacked and infected, but this has been discovered quickly by the community.

Rootkits on the other hand are the most notorious & idiotic piece of software, which once that gets installed are really difficult to remove, some even compromise your system, and infect it permanently, sometimes the damage is so severe that the data can’t be recovered. It might even behave as a Trojan Horse which actually causes a privilege escalation and opens a remote connection on the victim’s computer. RKhunter is a famous software, to check and remove rootkit on Linux systems. It tries to disinfect your linux computer by possibly scanning your system, for more information install rkhunter from your package manager (generally it’s available for most distributions)

Alternatively you can download the latest version, 1.3.8, here

Additionally you can also get an antivirus for Linux, this will help not only for Linux viruses but will help also to don’t spread around Windows viruses from a Linux box (via mail, or from a FTP server for example).

Below are mentioned 4 very famous Antiviruses for Linux

  • Bitdefender: Promises to provide security against viruses, spywares, Trojans & rootkits. You can download it here
  • Clamav Antivirus can be downloaded here just select the suitable package for the distribution you are using: Ubuntu, Fedora or Mandriva.
  • AVG: A free version for you linux can be downloaded here
  • Avast! : This is the Antivirus software that I rely on, I have it in my windows as well on my Ubuntu machine, In these days it is gaining more reputation online, and it provides Optimum Protection.

    Includes Features like:

    ICSA Certified, very Simple User Interface;
    automatically saves the scanned log file.
    A Unique and more Robust command line scanner with STDIN & STDOUT mode.
    Scans Shell scripts in background.
    Alerts via SMTP, during a mail server connection.
    Supports good number of executable packages & archives.
    Multiple Language Support: English, Czech, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Finnish, French.
    Virus Chest, Quarantine space for the infected file/files
    Stay Updated with the Automatic Updates.Download Avast! Linux Home Edition here.Download Avast! Linux/Unix Server here

    Download includes 3 packages; you can either download it in DEB, RPM or in TAR.gz format.

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  One Response to “Linux or Windows, make sure that you’re safe Online.”

  1. I was always worried about my computer’s security and the problem was that i was using Fedora which doesn’t run.exe anti-viruses but now i have found the solution, thanks for that.

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