[kwlug-disc] Linus viruses

Insurance Squared Inc. gcooke at insurancesquared.com
Wed Jul 28 11:02:52 EDT 2010


Not false at all.  An entire user list has one example of a desktop 
getting owned. One. I've got multiple instances of MS desktops getting 
owned just in my house.  I can't stop my kids MS desktop from getting 
owned without draconian policies.

I'm not looking at 'why' this is.  But it definitiely is.  You start 
with a linux desktop out of the box and you are almost certainly NOT 
going to get compromised - you're the first time I've heard of someone 
who did get compromised.

The comparison isn't 'why'.  The comparison is 'MS will get owned'.  
'linux desktops don't get owned'.  That's what I figured was the case 
given my experience with linux desktops.





On 28/07/10 10:57 AM, Rashkae wrote:
> Insurance Squared Inc. wrote:
>> I don't think there's a need to get that specific.
>>
>> I have a linux desktop, had one for something like 5-10 years.  I 
>> take no specific security precautions, run no virus scanner, and have 
>> never had an issue with external intrusions or compromises.
>>
>> Try the same thing with a windows desktop.  My mother's computer was 
>> filthy with viruses and hacks until I got her on to linux.  All I did 
>> was do a default install, give her the machine, and no further 
>> issues.  My point was, linux desktops don't get compromised ever.  
>> Not rarely - ever.  I've never had it happen, and nobody on this list 
>> even knows anybody that it's ever happened to. that's the point I was 
>> curious about - could it happen in some remote possibility?  
>> Apparently not.
>
> I'm sorry, this is simply false.  Very false.  I've once been pwned by 
> a worm.  I'll freely admit, it was entirely my fault for not locking 
> down a default Slackware install and not taking action to fix a well 
> publicized vulnerability. It was fascinating to see the hackers work, 
> using the compiler toolchain on my system to build the rootkit on the 
> fly and access the machine via an irc bot.... fun times.  And more 
> recently, we have the example of themes being downloaded with malware 
> from gnome-look.org; a perfect example of Windows style malware when 
> you have users downloading and installing whatever they want with 
> admin privilages from untrusted sources.
>
> I believe Linux security to be far and away better than the 
> traditional Windows model, but a direct comparison is unlikely to be 
> useful.  Linux security is greatly improved by two important factors 
> that are, combined, probably better than any software design of modern 
> OS's.
>
> 1.  Relative obscurity:  If Linux requires more work to compromise and 
> represents only 5% of of your potential target base, it makes little 
> sense to invest in malware for Linux desktops, currently.
>
> 2.  Linux users are likely to be more tech savvy.  So if Linux is on 1 
> - 5% of desktops, how many of those are likely to be a potential 
> victim? half? less than a quarter?
>
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-- 
Glenn Cooke
Insurance Squared Inc.
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