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Old 11-22-2005, 01:54 PM   #1
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Spyware / Malware Threats?

Is there no reports ever of a single Linux machine getting any spyware and or malware / adware on it? I just don't want to be nieve to thinking I am safe because I use Linux. I don't really worry about any viruses because, well...there is no registry but am worried I may have spyware and or malware on my box that could lead to bigger problems.
Old 11-22-2005, 02:22 PM   #2
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Moved: This thread is more suitable in Linux-Security and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.

And, AFAIK, there is no mal or adware written that will run on Linux.
Old 11-22-2005, 02:32 PM   #3
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My appologies.
Old 11-22-2005, 04:56 PM   #4
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I've never seen firsthand or even heard any reports of linux spyware either. There definitely are Linux viruses, but they are exceedingly rare. If you have windows shares on your system (like Samba) then antivirus is a good idea as the Samba share can become a vector for virus infection on the Windows boxes.

In linux, the most crucial security measure is really to keep your box updated with security patches. Most cracked Linux systems that we see are compromised using an exploit for a known vulnerability that has a patch already released for it. I'd also recommend taking a look at the general hardening guides in the Security References thread at the top of the forum.
Old 11-23-2005, 05:33 PM   #5
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Windows gets murdered with malware and spyware for one simple reason ... most Windows users:
  • Run with all passwords completely turned-off.
  • Run with Administrator status!
  • In other words, despite Windows' considerable and sophisticated security model (no, really!), they are .. needlessly and avoidably .. sitting ducks.
When any program out-of-the-blue comes along and asks to do something nasty, the computer obediently replies, "Yes, master."

All you really gotta do, both in Windows and in Linux, to cut-out most of this nonsense, is this:
  1. Actually set up and use user-names and passwords. Don't use words drawn straight from a dictionary.
  2. Use root (or Administrator) privileges only on one account, used only for system maintenance, and actually log-in to that account only when performing these activities. Carefully log-out again.
  3. As your primary login, set up a "Limited account" for yourself. This account is a pure-and-simple ordinary-Joe, with no special privileges, no special access rights whatsoever.
  4. If you routinely wear several hats at your company, set up a separate user-id for each role that you play. For instance, the Accountant routinely deserves a separate office from the CEO, doesn't she? And the sales-guy has his own cube? Spread stuff out according to their "need to know and use." ("The system maintainer" also deserves an account of his own, for everything that is related to the maintenance and installation of software on the system except what demands root.) Yes, all their passwords are different. Yes, every single one of these separate roles may be done by "you."
  5. Carefully review the list of user accounts that exist on your system, and remove or disable unnecessary ones. Don't support a "guest."
  6. Carefully review the list of services, or daemons, running on your machine and permanently disable all the ones you don't need.
  7. Know where and how and from whom any "system updates" come. Vendors never use e-mail, for instance. Provably secure update-mechanisms do exist, and all OS vendors use them.
  8. Be skeptical.
Now, when adware and malware wants to do something nasty to the system, they simply cannot do it. They don't have the privilege to do so. If they want to infect a system file, again they can't do it: no write-access. All they can do is to create mayhem with your files, and to defend against that, set up a simple system of on-disk backups. (And, USB 2.0 hard disks that fit in your pocket, or in a safe-deposit box, and hold gigabytes of info are available for cheap.)

Most of the time, the threat you're defending against is an automated cat-burglar, who is simply "playing the numbers," combing through thousands of IP-addresses per second looking for vulnerabilities. By the very simple fact that you are using security, and therefore show the slightest indication that you have given it some thought, you immediately and greatly reduce the probability that anyone will "bother to bother you." They'll try the locks and windows, find them bolted, and ... move on to the next house.
Old 11-24-2005, 08:57 AM   #6
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Good point.


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