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Old 03-01-2005, 04:26 AM   #1
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virus software for linux?

This may seem a silly question....I recently built a new PC & my old copy of Win98SE wont install (dont know why). I installed Suse 9.2 Professional - and I'm a convert! BUT - what about virii?! I have a couple of Linux books & they dont mention it, can Linux get a virus/spyware? In Win98SE I had anti-virus software and two anti-spyware packages & still got problems.
Old 03-01-2005, 04:40 AM   #2
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Well one of the more well known AV app's is "ClamAV".

Don't forget, if you've only just arrived in the linux world, it takes a while to realise why MS have made the recent changes i.e. with the advent of XP.

Previous versions allowed executive permissions from the user account (which for pre XP was also the sys admin account).

At least with XP you can now just set up a sys admin account and seperate user accounts without exec capability - where have I heard of that before ????? Oh yes.............Linux

Provided you installed and set up the linux distro with a "stong" /root password i.e. upper and lower case, numbers and punctuation/special signs, then that's the first level of protection in place.

There are conflicting stories about how many virus' are actually "in the wild", but I understand it to be that many, that you can count them on the fingers of 1 hand.....

so no, linux isn't perfect. though it's fair to say that it's not so much virus' that are a threat, but though trying to gain access for other reasons, so maybe you should look into firewalling first. Lets face it, if "they" can't install malware, it can't be run, but you're correct to not be complacent.

Here at LQ is as good a place to start as any, or of course, googles linux servers.



p.s. have you checked you installation disc's? I'd suspect that that's the best place to look for ClamAV or possibly something else (there was usually something on my discs when I ran mandrake).

Last edited by bigjohn; 03-01-2005 at 04:50 AM.
Old 03-01-2005, 05:42 AM   #3
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You should find ClamAV amongst the packages to install on Suse.

Another I've used recently is BitDefender which seemed to scan quicker on my older machine (Duron 800) but no noticable difference on an AMD 2700+.

Whilst Linux doesn't suffer virii (is that the plural?) to the same extent as Windows my opinion is that if you are using mail and various servers it is the responsible thing to stomp on anything malicious coming your way. Some fanatics might say "sod" Windows users but at the end of the day it affects everybody on the net so us "educated" users should take the lead.
Old 03-01-2005, 06:27 AM   #4
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I believe it viruses

Linux really doesn't have any of that virus/spy/adware crap that Windows has, hence another argument that Linux > Windows. That's not to say that there aren't any in existance, I mean, even cell phones have viruses now a days :P

So yea, with a firewall (I think SUSE has some wizard for that), an AV liek Clam, and strong passwords, you should be safe.
Old 03-01-2005, 10:43 AM   #5
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Another voice in the sane security corner. clamav and a firewall are always a good idea.

I also agree that a good root password can prevent many problems (virus, hacker, etc..) from ever reaching your core system.
Old 03-27-2005, 03:45 PM   #6
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thanks for your advice -
have downloaded some AV software - put mind at rest anyway. Too long maybe finding spyware/viruses whatever on Windows, as this is the first non-Microsoft OS I've used since a BBC Micro in '90.....
Old 03-27-2005, 03:51 PM   #7
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Originally posted by cathm
thanks for your advice -
have downloaded some AV software - put mind at rest anyway. Too long maybe finding spyware/viruses whatever on Windows, as this is the first non-Microsoft OS I've used since a BBC Micro in '90.....
BBC Micro to Windows...what a step backwards!
Old 03-27-2005, 04:15 PM   #8
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Well, in order for antivirus software to be useful on Linux, you need a number of things in place first:

1. a Virus which is actually successful in propogating from machine to machine (trojan horses don't count)
2. Users to run root as a general rule, a la Windows
3. Enough of a problem caused by #1 in order to justify a product

Sadly enough for antivirus vendors, although Symantec (the makers of Norton AntiVirus) and Network Associates (the makers of the crap program known as McAfee AntiVirus) have shown a handful (like six or seven) "proof of concept" viruses for Linux, they just don't propogate because of the inherent *nix-like security. You need a VERY sloppy environment with a VERY sloppy sysadmin running the environment in order to allow antivirus programs to propogate. Even if a virus does hit, unless you are running as root, damage will be largely limited to ~ - while this can result in the loss of a user's account data, it will not take down or otherwise disable the machine.

Symantec and Network Associates will keep trying, I'm sure, because as Linux gains market share and Microsoft loses it, they'll be losing as well. Excuse me while I adjust my tinfoil hat as I ponder Symantec's and Network Associates' respective roles in creating the virus problem on Windows (just kidding).
Old 03-28-2005, 01:40 PM   #9
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Also - to make using the antivirus programs easier you can get graphical interfaces for them too -

for ClamAV you can get KlamAV and for Bitdefender you can get BDCGUI - they can both be downloaded at sourceforge website.

Hope this helps


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