[kwlug-disc] so ... what's your opinion on linux anti-virus software?

Chris Frey cdfrey at foursquare.net
Thu Feb 5 18:57:04 EST 2009

On Wed, Feb 04, 2009 at 03:26:09PM -0500, Robert P. J. Day wrote:
>   a (sort of) acquaintance is asking about my recommendations for
> anti-virus software for both linux servers and workstations, and is
> admitting that he's already been told that viruses aren't that big an
> issue with linux and, coming from a windows world, he's finding that
> hard to believe.

You probably know all this already, but I'll write it anyway... :-)

I think that it needs to be explained to new Linux users that their
world view of computers will have to change slightly.  Instead of viewing
security as something you buy and run in the background, security
is now a process, and they are now in full control of it.

Do they run random software from sources they don't trust?  Their security
experience on Linux will be the same as on Windows.

Do they run all programs as root?  Or do they learn how it works to
create and use multiple accounts on a machine?

Do they install the OS and then forget about updates?

After pointing out all the changes they will have to make, then point out
how Linux makes those changes easier:

	- Almost all the software they will ever need is already available
	  in a repository they can trust.  No need to search the internet
	  for a utility to do some task... search the free repository first.

	- Trusted security updates are part of the "Linux DNA" and easy to do.

	- Linux is built with user accounts in mind.  Most daily operations
	  do not need administrator access.

	- While switching to a new operating system makes it harder to run
	  your favourite Windows applications, it also makes it harder to
	  run Windows viruses.  See how hard it is to run that random
	  "internet" CD?  It's just as hard to run that virus... :-)

If after all this, they insist on paying someone to scan their Linux files
for Windows viruses, you can start going through the list of AV providers.

- Chris

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