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Thread: Why malware parasites are starting to draw Linux blood

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    Why malware parasites are starting to draw Linux blood

    When a parasite is faced with a change in environment, it too will change or perish. While Microsoft Windows is the platform of choice for viruses and other malware, parasite writers are starting to smell fresh blood elsewhere. Numerous metrics indicate that Linux is charging full speed into the desktop market. According to an IDC report, businesses and government departments will spend $98 million on services to support their Linux systems in 2004. By 2008, the figure is predicted to increase to $228 million.

    The escalating growth is already gaining the wrong sort of attention. According to Trend Micro, the number of Linux viruses and worms reported in the wild between June and November of last year increased five-fold, from 100 to 496, and is still growing. "The more popular Linux becomes, the more attention it will get from hackers. Viruses and malicious code are written by people who want to make money. Spamming, for example is a motive," a spokesman said.

    Full Article @ NewsForge

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    Re: Why malware parasites are starting to draw Linux blood

    Sad but true... Keep everything up to date, subscribe to your distro's security list. Back up /home and don't run as root. Use sudo instead of su where you can. And above all set up your firewall properly if you''re not behind an external firewall.

    Be smart with spam, and it should all be good. A well configured and maintained Linux box is a pretty tough target if you're just a tad paraniod.

    Just my $0.02
    --glenn

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    Re: Why malware parasites are starting to draw Linux blood

    What about Encrypting your File System & closing all ports not needed would this help ?
    The European Patent Office hacking my system is my biggist concern.
    Lets Start a Security Thread.
    How would you go about makeing linux dam near impossable to hack?
    As far as spam and such goes i use kmail & spymac if you are not on my list of accepted e-mail address then the mail you send is removed.
    Before i even check my mail.

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    Sure encrypting the filesystem would help. Stopping any un-needed services is good too, that would close the associated port. Stopping Apache (httpd) if it's installed and running would close port 80 for instance assuming there's no other web server type thing going. You can also block incoming traffic with an external firewall, or use the built in (IP tables) firewall.

    You'd have to have the IP tables stuff built / installed / included / whatever. Most distros come with some default firewall configuration package, ie firestarter or something like that.

    No more than they cost, I'm running an external firewall myself.

    --glenn

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    Re: Why malware parasites are starting to draw Linux blood

    encrypting is good but there are alot of preventions one of the the biggest thing is user sensability dont open email that looks suspicious try to get files from big vendors etc.

    encrypting is good as well as firewall and antivirus
    but again it comes to user sensability

    i sure hope that linux doesnt need a spyware program like ad aware

    but none the less this is going to happen at some point

    but at the same time as security increases function decreases

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    the only thing encrypting the FS would help with is local security, ie someone won't be able to steal your HD and read it, or just reboot into single-user-mode

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    Re: Why malware parasites are starting to draw Linux blood

    While I agree that a new environemnt will draw more malicious code writers, I believe that the whole Linux/Open Source thing will really make it a lot more difficult to write "effective" malware. My reasons are as follows:

    1. Linux users are generally more savvy and know what and what not to open.

    2. Linux does not hide the underlying OS from the user. It is thus much easier to understand and diagnose a problem.

    3. Linux is a more secure and less buggy OS.

    4. There are hundreds or thousands of devs constantly working on Linux distro's. If an effective virus does get released, chances are that it will be fixed/patched against extremely quickly (hopefully in time to stop a large spread).

    Did I miss anything?

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    Good first post pugio!

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    Re: Why malware parasites are starting to draw Linux blood

    Quote Originally Posted by Pugio";p="4423
    While I agree that a new environemnt will draw more malicious code writers, I believe that the whole Linux/Open Source thing will really make it a lot more difficult to write "effective" malware. My reasons are as follows:

    1. Linux users are generally more savvy and know what and what not to open.
    unfortunatly the better linux gets, the less true that statement (@least about the savvy part) is.

    2. Linux does not hide the underlying OS from the user. It is thus much easier to understand and diagnose a problem.
    I sound like M$ here, but if it's easier for you and me to understand/find/diagnose a potential flaw, it's easier for a malicious user to do the same

    3. Linux is a more secure and less buggy OS.
    got the M$ source code to prove it? :P, i concur that your probably correct, but there really is no way to say for sure without having as many people look at M$ code as there are that look at Linux. You also need to account for 3rd-party programs... they aren't always (in fact almost never) as well audited as the kernel proper

    4. There are hundreds or thousands of devs constantly working on Linux distro's. If an effective virus does get released, chances are that it will be fixed/patched against extremely quickly (hopefully in time to stop a large spread).
    I agree with statement 100% actually.
    Did I miss anything?
    yea, then _main_ thing. In order for a virus/worm/automated_attack to be effective on linux it needs to do 3 things.

    1) get access to the box (ok, this is easy with social engineering, and a virus needs the same for windows)

    2) get root (a bit harder... but still feesible)

    3) be binary compatible with unpredictable libraries, and the holes need to spread across a large amount of libs on various distros (almost fucking impossible)

    IMHO linux's biggest defense against automated security threats is simply it's anarchistic culture, this may be going away in the enterprise place, but i'm not so sure....

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    Quote Originally Posted by maccorin";p="4426
    IMHO linux's biggest defense against automated security threats is simply it's anarchistic culture, this may be going away in the enterprise place, but i'm not so sure....
    What a beautiful sentiment I couldn't agree more. And sure the mainstream distros will be a little more suceptable, but with the rate at which things can change as far as system/application/library versions goes, I think we will be able to enjoy this little bonus for some time to come.

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