Reasons why the Linux OS doesn’t easily get infected with Malware.

This information is referring only to the Linux desktop OS and not the Linux server. Linux is known as a very secure operating system. This is true, however there is a common misconception that Linux can’t be infected with malware. This is not true, while it is a lot harder to infect a Linux computer with malware it is still possible. Lets be clear on the fact that malware is used to describe all malicious software in general while a virus is a specific form of malware. Unfortunately a virus is commonly used as a broad term to define all types of malware which is technically incorrect. When present, malware on a Linux computer tends to show more overt like behavior such URL redirects or phishing emails as opposed to Windows malware which tends to show more passive like behavior such as a virus running as a background process.

Root access

Malware on Windows can run without the users permission such as a virus which can run in the background processes as a .exe file. With Linux if you do happen to come across malware it will not run without root access in which you would have to enter your password to grant access. If this happens to you, never enter your password if prompted after being redirected to a site or clicking on a link attached to an email. Certain Linux distros dont even have an admin account.

Market share

Something that’s often overlooked is the fact that a significant amount of people use Windows and Mac more then Linux. This means that a lot more malware writers use Windows as a platform for malware infection. This is not the main reason why Linux is more secure but it’s still a significant factor.

Virus protection

Most cautious users can use Linux for years without virus protection and not have their computers infected with any malware. However there is always the possibility of sending an email attachment or file to a Windows user without knowing that the file has malware code written for Windows. This doesn’t impact your computer but techincally still means that your computer has malware on it if the file is infected. If the file is infected with malware it can still do damage to other non Linux computers your sending files to. There is also the possibility of being redirected to a phishing site since a phishing site is not directly infecting your computer with malware. While for most people spoof sites are obvious, it is still possible for someone to make one simple mistake that can infect their computer or somebody else’s. With a virus protection program you can scan the files before you send them and you can also avoid URL redirects to phishing sites. Sophos Virus protection for Linux is a good program to use.

So yes Linux computers are more secure for multiple reasons, however it would still be a good idea to be just as cautious as you would be with Windows. This is ecspecially important for beginner Linux users since they may not be aware that being careless can still get their Linux computer infected or information stolen at some point or another.

Author: Craig Perez

I post about technology and other topics.

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