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June 2004

Linux malware: Challenges of the Linux worm

Worms and viruses are everywhere, but hardly a one for Linux. Only a handful of Linux malware has ever been released in the wild. While the Lion (2001), Ramen (2001) and Slapper (2002) worms and the Bliss virus (1997) presented problems for Linux users, they weren't nearly as crippling as the worst Windows malware. So, should Linux users brush off concerns about malware plagues? Short answer: No. Poor quality, high TCO and persistent security vulnerabilities are driving Windows shops to use Linux alternatives. Consequently, Linux implementations and GUIs are becoming easier to use, and it's probable that this wider adoption by novices will make Linux a greater malware target. But despite its advantages in averting infections, Linux isn't impervious. The new GUIs function much like Windows. The critical differences: No Linux mail client will automatically launch an executable when the user clicks on the attachment (although they'll let the user view the file in another program); and, there are a few extra steps to running an ...

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