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Old 05-01-2007, 08:07 PM   #1
nathanhillinbl
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Theoretical Future??


I'm fairly new to linux(been using Mandriva 2007.0 for about 4 months), and seeing the Dell-Canonical deal, started to wonder. What if linux becomes mainstream (theoretically)? Can viruses be successful/live in a Linux environment? Windows, being a dominant(although, i like to refer it to idiot-proof in a bad sort of way) OS, has tons of viruses, spyware, adware and all that designed for it, could linux become that way, if it became mainstream?

Just curious.

Thanks,
Nate Hill
 
Old 05-01-2007, 08:35 PM   #2
drewbug01
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it could, i suppose. one theory on why windows has so many viruses is that it has such a large market share. now, on the one hand linux doesn't just allow any code to do serious damage to your system without literally asking for your permission. on the other hand, I'm sure some viruses could be made. One good thing about the theory of open source is that with many eyes looking at the source code, bugs and vulnerabilities are easier to fix. So, if linux goes mainstream, I still don't see it as a huge issue.
--drew
 
Old 05-01-2007, 11:38 PM   #3
Micro420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewbug01
it could, i suppose. one theory on why windows has so many viruses is that it has such a large market share. now, on the one hand linux doesn't just allow any code to do serious damage to your system without literally asking for your permission. on the other hand, I'm sure some viruses could be made. One good thing about the theory of open source is that with many eyes looking at the source code, bugs and vulnerabilities are easier to fix. So, if linux goes mainstream, I still don't see it as a huge issue.
--drew
Believe it or not, but Windows has the ability to limit the destruction of viruses and spyware, too! The main reason it does so much damage is because by default, Windows users are given full administrative privileges. This is the same as running your system as ROOT. I manage about 100 Windows machines and have never had any serious incidents. If you know how to manage and administer your systems and limit privileges, then damage can be minimized! This is no different with Linux.

Regarding Dell and Ubuntu Linux, I am glad it is happening but I don't expect to see much happening on the personal workstation arena. Businesses - maybe with the Canonical support. I know that for me and my work, if the price isn't significantly different from Windows, then I would just purchase Windows, wipe it off myself, and put Ubuntu on it if for some reason I needed Linux. And if the price was significantly cheaper, say about $300, then I would get the Ubuntu Dell, then wipe it out and purchase myself a Windows license which can be bought for about $99 since we have a deal with Microsoft. Users at my work would freak out at the site of Linux and wonder why all their familiar applications have changed. Until vendors start porting their applications to Linux, I won't be changing my users to an unfamiliar OS. My $0.02

Last edited by Micro420; 05-01-2007 at 11:47 PM.
 
Old 05-01-2007, 11:57 PM   #4
drewbug01
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very true, Micro420. I'm aware that Windows allows you to run as an unprivileged user, thereby limiting risks. I suppose I feel that linux is a tad more secure because it does not allow you to run as root by default. Most distributions worth their salt automatically create a non-privileged user, thereby making it a tad more secure.
Case Study:
My mother purchased a new computer. I attempted to set up non-privileged accounts so that way the system might last more than 6 months before being completely hosed. (My MS troubleshooting skills are rather lack-luster) She proceeded to remove them all, and just have one account.
My point is this: Most users don't understand how harmful admin power can be. At least linux prods them in the right direction.
My other 2 cents :-D
 
Old 05-02-2007, 06:56 AM   #5
hacker supreme
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The vast majority of security issues (IMNSHO) are caused by the users.

Take drewbug01's case above, he tried to protect the computer by making limited accounts, but the user (In this case his mother) removed them, more than likely because it was inconvenient.

The vast majority of users I know would rather run as admin on windows because they don't have to bother about asking me to change a setting for them, it's inconvenient. But, tough cookies, I'm admin. I protect my system.
 
Old 05-04-2007, 01:43 AM   #6
unSpawn
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Quote:
What if linux becomes mainstream (theoretically)? Can viruses be successful/live in a Linux environment? Windows, (...) has tons of viruses, spyware, adware and all that designed for it, could linux become that way, if it became mainstream?
Who needs the OS to be *mainstream* to cause or have trouble anyway? Viruses are just one category of evil: a host of kernel vulnerabilities, worms, overflows assortis, tainted app repositories, you name it, and it all doesn't make GNU/Linux past exactly look spotless. And then we've not even begun talking about users: lack of knowledge (think gross misconfiguration), laziness (like running stale SW) and such.

If you look at spy|adware there's a commercial motivation driving development and distribution of those, the same can be said for the spam/IRC bot type of malware we find on GNU/Linux boxen. And nobody can say (at least part of the) vulnerabilities discovered and 0-days distributed are not motivated otherwise as well (ego most likely). As long as people will be motivated to Do Something Bad there'll be trouble, and fixes, luckily. And a lot of preventive measures to help secure/harden the box can be taken post-install and in a modular way.
 
  


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