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Old 09-08-2008, 11:18 PM   #1
wstay
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how safe is linux operating system


How safe is using Linux operating system as far as computer virus, malware, hacker......are concern?
 
Old 09-08-2008, 11:32 PM   #2
nadroj
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this question is pretty broad. also, as this question has been asked many times, if you want a very detailed response, search the articles here or look for similar threads to this, as it has been discussed thoroughly.

also, you will likely find a variety of answers, but there is not really a (quantitative) definition for the word 'safe'. this means that you cant precisely say that linux is "safe" and windows is "not safe". please know and understand this: security is up to the user. if you want to make your linux rock solid in terms of security, you can do it, the same can be said for windows.

as britney spears became more popular, it was easier to break her down (mentally and physically). as windows has become more popular, 'crackers' spent more time to target it, and as a result it may be easier to break down (in terms of security). as more people use windows, there is a greater the probability of finding someone who does not have good security on their system. as unix-based operating systems are not as popular as windows operating systems on the desktop, statistically speaking it makes sense to target windows machines for this reason. of course unix-based operating systems are developed much differently from windows OSs, so one attack on OS 'A' may not work on OS 'B'. as linux continues to grow on the desktop, all that seems very secure in it today may quite possibly be very insecure in the near future.

again, this question usually results in a unique answer that is subject to debate and there is no one 'right' answer. but i hope it helps.

Last edited by nadroj; 09-08-2008 at 11:42 PM.
 
Old 09-08-2008, 11:41 PM   #3
i92guboj
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The eternal question.

Any OS is ultimately as secure as knowledgeable is its administrator.

Being that said, Linux is built from the ground with multiuser in mind, unlike other OSes, so, it's got a big point there. There's also much less malware in the Linux domain (though it's not true that there aren't Linux viruses). In Linux any malware would need to scale permissions using obscure vulnerabilities and bugs to become superuser. In Windows there's no need, because every user can do everything. That alone is a big security measure, as long as you don't operate as root for everything.

Another advantage is due to the open source software, and not to Linux itself. Being OSS means that thousands of eyes all around the world are over the code, any vulnerability is quickly addressed and fixed, distro maintainers and skilled users all around the world make patches and audit the code. This is not possible on closed source software.

No system is invulnerable, though. But most distros come with a reasonable security defaults, so, as long as you update periodically you should be fine.

This is a very extense topic and there's already a lot of info around the net.

http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-...ly+more+secure

There're opinions for everyone out there
 
Old 09-08-2008, 11:49 PM   #4
nadroj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i92guboj View Post
In Windows there's no need, because every user can do everything.
that must be a new feature in vista.. ive never heard of that!
 
Old 09-08-2008, 11:52 PM   #5
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nadroj View Post
that must be a new feature in vista.. ive never heard of that!
I don't know anything about Vista, nor have I any interest hehe.

Still, the single-user, stand-alone machine roots of Windows are present in all it's previous versions (I don't know about Vista, and I haven't checked it from a security perspective either).

Sorry for not being any more specific.
 
Old 09-09-2008, 12:32 AM   #6
darthaxul
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vista

ya, speaking of vista, its a half-baked attempt to "mirror" linux. when i tryed vista it forced my hand to grab linux distro's and never look back. but for a security standpoint it depends on what you like. sometimes ignorance is bliss. other times paranoia is prevelent. I noticed some distro's that are maintained by "a small group" or even one person, if your using that distro you rely on them to get your system patched/secure(but at least you get another option yourself can dig into guts to find bugs/mistake). I really dont see any difference between ms and linux as far as maintaining issue. but for me it was what i wanted, a fast system with what i want, not what someone thinks i want.
 
Old 09-09-2008, 01:28 AM   #7
John VV
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search the web but Linux is as secure as the user/admin. If you use bad habits then it is not secure, just like in windows.However if you fallow good secure habits then it is more secure than windows .
generally Linux is more secure than MS , but not always .

as to malware , as far as i know NONE will run , except for tracking cookies .
viruses ,I think there about 6 to 12 maybe 18 that will run on linux
rootkits , these can be a problem but using good habits they are not to much of an issue
hackers ,NO system is 100% secure 99.9% yes but not 100%
 
Old 09-09-2008, 01:56 AM   #8
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John VV View Post
as to malware , as far as i know NONE will run , except for tracking cookies .
viruses ,I think there about 6 to 12 maybe 18 that will run on linux
Anything based on javascript, to put an example, can run the same on linux or windows (or in any other OS where there's a browser which supports it).

The main things that stops them to hurt us as much as in windows are:
  • There's on IE in linux, most other browsers don't have such a silly defaults
  • At most, damage is localized to a given user, unless you like to run javascripts are root...
  • There's no ActiveX in linux, again, because we don't use IE

Quote:
hackers ,NO system is 100% secure 99.9% yes but not 100%
Most systems are not brightly hardened, a poorly configured linux system can be an easy target for a skilled hacker. However, these days most distros do use sane defaults. But there are many others that do not, and there are even distros that force you to work as root by default...

Where security is critical, I'd probably say "use openbsd".
 
Old 09-09-2008, 06:09 AM   #9
FastForward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i92guboj View Post
TIn Windows there's no need, because every user can do everything.
Erm, one of us has a pretty serious lack of understanding of Windows user groups, and Im hoping for my sake its you.
 
Old 09-09-2008, 06:29 AM   #10
billymayday
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastForward View Post
Erm, one of us has a pretty serious lack of understanding of Windows user groups, and Im hoping for my sake its you.
My interpretation of that comment is that since in (XP at least) Windows, most users probably end up being administrator class (at least on home machines), the user can do basically anything. Having set my kids up as users (or whatever the lower privilege version is called) I can see why people wouldn't bother with it. It doesn't give you the option to install things by giving an admin user's credentials (at least not when I do it) meaning you need to log out and log in as the admin to install stuff.
 
Old 09-09-2008, 06:44 AM   #11
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastForward View Post
Erm, one of us has a pretty serious lack of understanding of Windows user groups, and Im hoping for my sake its you.
I perfectly know how user groups works (up to xp as I said).

I also perfectly know they are no use at all, because most programs start behaving erratically when a limited account is used. Windows is not made to work in such a way, and that legacy is present in most programs made for that OS.

Roughly, 100% of the users I know (and they are quite a few since I work with computers everyday) end up using a full priviledged account. Some of them try to run with a limited one for some time, but the hassle is not worth the effort. Limited account are there so MS can tell us how good their OS is, but for practical purposes, they are useless, unless it's for a very specific software/use.

That's my experience, however. It might be different for other users.

Last edited by i92guboj; 09-09-2008 at 06:46 AM.
 
Old 09-09-2008, 06:52 AM   #12
H_TeXMeX_H
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Linux in general is much safer that Window$, but only as long as you take the usual precautions:

1) setup iptables correctly
2) disable services you don't need, and close all ports that are not used
3) use rkhunter or chkrootkit regularly
4) if you want use clamav to scan for viruses and trojans
5) do NOT run as root (this one should be obvious) or run anything coming from a suspicious source
 
Old 09-09-2008, 07:04 AM   #13
onebuck
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Hi,

I would like to add that you can setup several layers of protection with a 'GNU/Linux' system. You could setup a 'DMZ' along with the modem/router interface protection. If running a GNU/Linux server that is utilized with M$ on the LAN then you can setup protection for the machine(s) on the server along with M$ local virus or protection (I use clamwin on the M$).
 
Old 09-09-2008, 07:32 AM   #14
masonm
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A default Linux installation is more secure than a default Windows installation. Beyond that a Linux system is as secure or insecure as you make it.
 
Old 09-09-2008, 08:10 AM   #15
johnsfine
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Two factors from the analogy to biological disease have a very large impact on the effective safety of Linux.

1) Biodiversity. Safety from disease is greatly increased by biodiversity. Linux gives you a double dose of biodiversity that you don't get with Windows.
a) Just because it is Linux and Linux is less popular than Windows.
b) Because of variation within Linux of the aspects of system configuration that a virus would target. A Linux distributor (Debian vs. Red Hat, etc.) has/uses far more flexibility to vary things than a Windows distributor (Dell vs. HP, etc.) and the Linux end user has more tools and information available to let him customize further than a Windows end user.

2) Vaccination affects. In a biological system an individual gets a lot of protection from vaccination of those around him, even if he isn't vaccinated himself (he is less likely to be exposed to the real disease, because those around him won't be infected). A significant fraction of Linux users manage security competently, so a Linux user (such as myself) who doesn't manage security competently is less likely to ever be attacked, because all those competently managed Linux systems are unavailable for spreading the infection. That vast majority of Windows systems are operated without competent security management.

There are several reasons (some discussed in threads above) why someone's Linux system would be inherently more resistant to attack than that same person's Windows system (assuming he applies similar levels of skill and effort to protecting each). But I think the larger factor in Linux safety is that your Linux system is less likely to be attacked, rather than its being more able to resist attack.
 
  


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