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  1. #11
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub

    Quote Originally Posted by inverse-ion View Post
    Years ago, I forget in which magazine, there was an article that described OS security best.
    Windows technically has the strongest security, however since it is the most populated by users it is the most targeted. It's like having ten bolt locks and bars on the windows but you live in a crime ridden area.
    Macintosh is like living in a suburb where you feel comfortable to leave your front door unlocked when you're home while despite there is still occasional crime.
    Linux is like living in the desert with no one else for miles, and a simple lock on the front door but all of your valuables are buried under the floorboards.
    Ten or so years ago, one of the PC magazines I read at the time came to the same conclusion. In the next issue they admitted it was their April fool joke I went for it hook, line and sinker. Got angry and ranty too. Boy did I feel daft the next month
    Should you be sitting wondering,
    Which Batman is the best,
    There's only one true answer my friend,
    It's Adam Bloody West!

    The Fifth Continent

  2. #12
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Lancashire, England
    It is important to understand "virus" = self spreading bad-program , and other types of bad-program infections (English is "malware", "mal" = bad).
    There are three strong points in a Linux system which are not easily done in Windows systems:
    A) The system should and can always be set up to separate Operating System programs partition from 'Home/User" {my documents) partition.
    B) There are a number of anti-virus programs for Linux, a good user will instal one (FREE ONE OR PAID FOR) to avoid any incoming malware from being sent out again to a Windows user. In 10 years of Linux operating I have had no virus attach. In the same time on my windows systems my anti-virus has stopped about 3 infections that go through my systems (my HUMAN error in two cases!)
    C) The big point. if set up as in A (separate operating system OS [say Linux OpenSUSE or Red Flag Linux (Chinese: 红旗Linux)] from data (Home/User) , then if there is a problem you, the user, just reload and reformat the OS partition again from a clean DVD or CD. This is difficult to do in Windows as it needs 'activation' by phoning or internet to Microsoft.
    D) Big advantage: Linux is free of cost for many distributions, with some commercial paid ones for big companies. PS major sites Google, social networks etc work on Linux not Windows, partly for cost, partly for lock down security.

    Good luck with your project.

  3. #13
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Edmonton, Canada
    In my opinion, the difference of security between Apple, Linux, and MS is not a single sided issue. It is a combination of many factors, most of which have already been posted above.

    alf55 is correct about the average Linux user's computer knowledge, and that the 'Just click OK' mentality makes many Windows users much more vulnerable.

    Roxoff is correct about user accounts. If all Windows users always used regular user accounts, like almost all Linux and Apple users do, Windows security would be vastly improved. Most Windows admins I know 'recommend' running as a regular user, but they themselves almost always login in as an admin, so its not surprising many users ignore that recommendation. This means their browser, email and other programs all run as admin, too, opening up many attack vectors. Linux users don't do this because Linux makes it easy to become root for a while to do admin stuff, while still being logged on as a regular user.

    Elija's points add more of the pieces. Most Linux users can find pretty much every legit piece of software at a reputable source. It is a sad truth many Windows users will download via some pretty shady sites just to save a few bucks, thus vastly increasing the likelihood of downloading trouble.

    I, too, read the article mentioned by inverse-ion, but I disagree with it. All OSes have capable security, but Linux security can be taken to the stratosphere if you want, without paying the tens of thousands of $'s for similar Windows add-on security software, meaning more Linux admins enable those extra layers.

    Also, while there are many more Windows systems, a very high percentage of Linux computers are storing very valuable data. Many Linux systems are more akin to banks and jewellery stores than lone houses in the middle of nowhere. Hack one bank computer and get 100's of thousands, or millions, of bank account and credit card numbers and info. Hack 50M Windows systems, you'll get info from a few hundred bank accounts and credit cards. The most valuable thing on many Windows systems is grandma's apple pie recipe.

    As to famous Linux virus, I don't recall any 'spread like wildfire' incidents. There is malware written for Linux, but it is difficult to find a single attack vector to get malware onto many Linux computers, mostly because each distro uses independent repositories, derived from source, not shared binaries. Most of the successful, media worthy, Linux hacks have been against web servers, that is, systems that are out there on the front line, configured by design and necessity, to accept connections.
    Last edited by jselover; 04-14-2013 at 06:12 AM.

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  5. #14
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Harrow, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by alf55 View Post
    Most windows users that I know will simply "click on OK" when a dialog pops up... I have seen two people turn on firewall software and every time a dialog came up about the communication, they simply "clicked OK".

    Well, when I used Windows, I did the same because I really didn't feel I had much alternative. Alf has forgotten what using Windows is like! From time to time my firewall would tell me something like "Program fdjxxd5 is trying to access the Internet. Allow?" Of course I had no idea what fdjxxd5 was and no way of finding out. Windows is a mosaic of little programs with obscure names and they are all completely undocumented. So was this thing part of Windows or was it a virus trying to phone home? If it was part of Windows, did it need to access the Internet in order for the whole system to work? I didn't know so what was I supposed to do? I just clicked OK.

    One of the many nice things about Linux is that it has a relatively simple internal structure, which is easy to understand. It consists of a few main modules with informative names and good documentation. So it is actually possible to know what you are doing, and that encourages you to think what you are doing. Windows users tend to act blindly not because they are stupid but because Windows virtually forces them to act in this way.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

  6. #15
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    Alf has forgotten what using Windows is like!
    No, I started using UNIX in 1976, got a job in EDA (Electronic Design Automation) for a Mainframe company where the only options for coding was Sperry Univac mainframe or UNIX (as windows never had enough power or uptime) to simulate a custom VLSI chip (ASIC), route the circuit for 4 foot by 4 foot motherboard with 50 layers of connectivity, static timing analysis of that 4 foot square motherboard with all the chips in place and many many other tasks.

    Only used window for a few months in my entire life and only inside a company environment (used to connect to a UNIX machine where the software was being developed).

    As such when the Linux kernel was at 0.98 and there were floppy disk (5.25 inch) "disk set"s, I bought parts and built a 386 Linux machine. I still build my own desktop/server machines and buy my notebooks with no OS installed. My current notebook is running gentoo now for 3 years and the previous ran gentoo for two years and other Linux distros prior to that.

    At work I use Linux.

  7. #16
    what does it mean running under root user? as in secondary user? and not Admin? so if a virus were to attack it would be attacked under root user so the virus wouldn't directly attack an Admin system?

  8. #17
    Linux Newbie SL6-A1000's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by zhengcl86 View Post
    what does it mean running under root user? as in secondary user? and not Admin? so if a virus were to attack it would be attacked under root user so the virus wouldn't directly attack an Admin system?
    The difference between running as a root user means you are running as the super user. This means your not creating a user profile and instead just logging in as "root".

    Most distro's prevent this by locking the root user by default and forcing you to create a user profile during setup. Unless of course your running through CLI (command line). I think most of the Red Hat clones and Red Hat still allow you to login in as root.

    It can be confusing if you have used/ using Windows because Admin and Root mean the same thing in Windows. i.e. if your the Admin you have elevated user privileges and are essentially a "super user" (root). This is also why most people suggest you don't run your main profile in Windows as the Admin.

    However admin in Linux/ Unix just means your able to edit user based files. So for example you can grant other users permissions to run terminal or you can lock certain functions within Linux; although you can't edit system files or the core operating system when you are an admin in Unix/Linux. Which is the key difference from Windows. Unless of course you gain temporary elevated privileges through the "sudo" or "su" command.

    I hope that helps, as you were confusing the two
    In short you don't want a virus or hacker to attack and get access to the "root user" any other profile is less damaging.
    Last edited by SL6-A1000; 04-16-2013 at 05:31 AM.

  9. #18
    hello, i just want to say THANK YOU! gentlemens/ladies for all your input i had my presentation today and it went well, also i kinda missed some of the stuff i wanted to cover due to nervousness, the professor actually made a comment to me during class how i took the time to go outside of the website and ask the locals (which is you guys) for more of an in-depth coverage of how Linux handles security. Thank you again!!

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