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Old 10-21-2003, 07:13 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Finland
Distribution: Mandrake 10.1
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Question about security in Linux

I have recently switched my old Windows 98 to Mandrake Linux 9.1. With Windows I had F-Prot Antivirus and ZoneAlarm firewall, and I take I was adequate secured.

If I had understood it correctly, Linux has good security build-in. This question is conserning a) virus protection and b) firewall.

a) I have download and installed F-Prot for Linux. Altho commandline interface isn't very good IMHO, I have scanned my harddrives, no viruses were found. I have set up cron as F-Prot Readme suggested to get and install new virus updates two times per day. I was thinking to scan harddrives (I have two of them) once in every week. For you experienced Linux users, is this adequate to protect me against viruses?

b) For firewall, I haven't found any HOWTO which I could understand with my somewhat poor English. In Mandrake Control Center I have chosen "High" as security protocol, and in firewall config I have chosen All - no firewall. I did install Guarddog from KDE, but I didn't understood how to configure it. Since I installed it, DirectConnect didn't work anymore and webpages were slow to load. So I uninstalled it.
So my question is, what you propose as good and newbie-friendly firewall utility?

As for password/user security, I have atleast 8 characters passwords with mixed letters and numbers. Passwords aren't words in any language. I only log in as root when I really need to.

Thank you for replies.
Old 10-21-2003, 07:31 PM   #2
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a) What's a virus again? Ever since I switched to Linux I never had to worry about them really.
AFAIK that should work perfectly I would think since I haven't used a Virus scanner or software once since I've started using Linux about 5 or 6 years ago. You really don't need to worry about viruses in Linux as they aren't that popular anyways. And if there are some, in which there are, by default it rarely does any damage in most cases. Try searching the forums as this is commonly asked and answered all the time.

b) Try checking out the HowTo's at where you can find the IPTABLES howto and documentation or maybe a search on IPTABLES.

PS. About Command Line interface isn't any good.. well, I can achieve more in a Linux command line than anyone with a mouse and GUI could in Windows. It is very powerful, you can do everything from the command line, don't underestimate it as Linux is not DOS or Windows...
Also, get use to it, at times there won't be that pretty GUI tool to do what you need to do.
Old 10-21-2003, 07:35 PM   #3
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Canada
Distribution: gentoo
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a) virus aren't really a concern in the linux world (windows and linux don't have compatible architectures/executables, so virus have to be re-written from scratch for linux.)

Furthermore, even if you somehow get infected by a virus, that virus can't do much except maybe delete files you created with the account you were using when you got infected (ie: if you downloaded an infected e-mail with the user Bob, that particular virus can only destroy files in Bob's home dir (provided that you didn't change critical system directories access rights to world-writable))

If you still feel paranoid about viruses, a weekly hd scan outta be enough to keep you protected.

b) I have yet to find a *nix firewall with a newbie-friendly GUI, but i suggest you use iptables. I'm pretty sure it comes pre-installed with Mandrake (or pre-compiled with the kernel? i dont know if iptables if software-based or kernel-based, since i don't use it), and im sure that if you google around you can find a basic HOW-TO that'll answer all your questions and provide you with a good config file.

All of this may sound complicated, but if you put some effort into it you can get your firewall running in a decent timeframe.

Bonus answer: If you really care about security, you should protect your boot-loader (LiLo) with a password.
Old 10-21-2003, 10:46 PM   #4
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I think the basics of Linux security involves updating software on your system that has security updates (Mandrake can do this fairly easily), blocking all unneeded ports with your firewall (firestarter is a good tool, it lets you simply choose what ports, if any, you need open), and using good security practices (don't run unnecessarily as root, don't run untrusted programs or files, etc.).
A virus program on Linux is mostly for scanning files that may be used on other (Windows) computers.
Old 10-22-2003, 03:16 AM   #5
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Finland
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Thank you for replies, you will be great help

I though every OS has viruses, since Windows has so many

But, thanks again


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