I'm really happy that I can use Linux now. Some of you who have been reading my posts for the past year, might remember how I could never get ubuntu to work because I was on Verizon Wireless. Now I have Frontier DSL, and was pleased to see that I can get online with both Windows and Linux. I Know there are lots of different types and versions of Linux out there. But I was wondering, if you guys to could tell me does a Linux user need an anti-virus? Because I read that some people say you do, and others say you don't. Also if it's a good idea to use an anti-virus with Linux, what would you recommend?
Question about Anti-Virus and Linux(10 posts)
NO OS is immune from malware, though there is less malware in the wild targeted at Linux. But there IS some out there, and you would be wise to keep that in mind for your surfing and email habits.
Indeed, Linux has some good command line rootkit detectors (can't remember what they are right now, but I think they are both in the main repository.)
Now I said there are not many Linux viruses in the wild, and there aren't. BUT, that's not necessarily because of Linux's security. The main reason there aren't is simply because of market share. Windows has over a 90% market share, therefore the malware writers get the biggest bang for their buck by targeting Windows.
As Linux gains more users, the malware situation for Linux will worsen.
Some Ubuntu people, especially some "experienced users" on the Ubuntu forums, are particularly arrogant, smug, pedantic, and OBNOXIOUS when you ask them about an antivirus. The typical answer might be "Linux is immune and you are foolish if you think you need an antivirus."
I have cautioned some of those folks to "Watch out what you're wishing for . . . you may get things you haven't planned for." What I meant was that since they are Ubuntu fanboys and want to see Ubuntu increase their market share, the malware writers, who get the biggest bang for their buck targeting the 800 pound gorilla, may just see a good target if Ubuntu users increase.
Might be better to continue flying under the radar and remain a poor target rather than show increasing usage and become a good target.
The MAC guys found out about infections and Apple being "IMMUNE".
Now I'm not bashing the Ubuntu forums. On the contrary, I do get some good advice on there. But be aware that if you ask your question about a Linux antivirus on those forums, you're likely to get some condescending and negative answers.
Noobs that take some of that stuff without question can get a bum steer.
But Rick is correct when he says the "General opinion". It just happens that as a Linux user I disagree with that "General Opinion." But then I'm a security freak and I HAVE seen infected Linux systems. Rare? Yes, but they DO exist.
So, my answer (to your three month old question . . . sorry, I might be a little late here but I don't visit HTG that much anymore) is YES . . . you would be wise to run an antivirus scan at least once a month . . . more often might be better too.
If you follow best security practices and watch your surfing and email habits, your antivirus program will likely be like a Maytag Repairman . . . nothing to do.
But for that rare time that you might get infected no matter what you do (and that DOES happen . . . there's no such thing as 100% foolproof security), an antivirus program can be a lifesaver. I run Avast.
"Sky is falling" thinking? Perhaps. Paranoid? Maybe. But have I reduced my risk by running an antivirus program . . . even in Linux? Yes.
(BTW, I have Frontier DSL and connect via wireless too. Tip: If you ever change your ISP password, call and tell Frontier right away. If the password they have on file for you doesn't match what's in your router, you won't be passed through to the Internet. Your machine indicator will show a connection, but that will only be between your machine and the router. Your DSL, WIreless, and Power lights will be green on your router, but the Internet light on your router will be red in that circumstance.)
That's why I said parenthetically, "(to your three month old question . . . sorry, I might be a little late here but I don't visit HTG that much anymore)."
I looked back further and HTG seems to use 4 or 5 months as the cutoff . . . anything older than that is just flat out closed. I was tempted to respond to some 4 or 5 monthers, but I figured that was pressing the envelope too much.
Even though the OP return here is questionable, I figure search engines may pick up on the thread, and it can still benefit someone looking for opinions on the topic.
Perhaps you misunderstood me . . . or my communication skills are flawed.
In any case, what I was referring to was when the MAC folks found out the Apple OS was NOT immune when they got infections (and these same folks were arrogantly claiming their system was "immune" . . . NOT, as they painfully found out.)
Read my opening remark again: "NO OS is immune from malware . . .", and that certainly includes Apple OS's.
Thanks for the clarification BobJam, missed that part of your post (or it didn't register too much staring at code). Just thought you'd heard something NEW about a Mac OS.
No worries :)
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