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  1. #1
    Linux Guru fingal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Birmingham - UK

    A short guide to Linux security

    Here at we are often asked about the
    potential threat of a virus or malware attack. This
    short guide is designed to answer some of your questions so
    that your experience with Linux will be both safe and

    Generally, you will find that by using Linux you
    are less likely to be the victim of a virus attack, but
    you still need to take some basic precautions.

    Here are some previous threads which deal with the question
    of virus protection for Linux users:

    Virus Software For Linux
    What is the BEST anti-virus program?

    Your security can also be compromised by the presence of a
    'rootkit' on your system. This is a set of software
    tools installed by an unauthorised third party to gain
    access to a computer. Perhaps the best way to detect a rootkit is
    to install and run Rootkit Hunter

    As you may have realised from reading some of the threads
    listed above, up-to-date anti-virus software is readily
    available for Linux systems. One of the best known is
    Clam-Av which is pre-installed on some distros. It can be downloaded
    from this link.

    There is also a useful graphical front end available for
    Clam-Av, and this can be found here.

    Many Linux users ensure that they have extra security by
    installing a firewall. Here are some previous threads which
    discuss this:

    Is a firewall really needed?
    What's a good firewall that can be installed as a RPM?
    What's the best firewall distro?

    As you can see, there are a number of different
    firewalls which will help to secure your computer. Here is a
    short selection complete with web links:

    Guarddog - A good firewall to begin with. Not too hard to install or configure.
    Smoothwall - This can be used to turn a redundant PC into a firewall.
    Shorewall - A high-level tool for configuring Netfilter.
    IPCop - Capable of displaying network traffic statistics.

    As you will have realised by now, security is a big subject,
    and this guide cannot hope to cover all your questions.
    There are entire sites devoted to this, and here are a
    few for you to visit:

    Security Quick-Start

    Security Report: Windows vs Linux

    As you become more proficient you will want to consider
    taking further steps to deny access to system crackers.
    To check the strength of your passwords try 'John the Ripper'.
    To 'harden' your system even more you can run 'Bastille'.
    For testing the security of a remote computer learn all
    about Nmap.

    Finally, a quick way to test the security of your
    distro is to visit this site for a free system check.
    Note to moderator(s): edit at will - in the end I thought this was the best way to submit this post, edit the links and avoid undue stress.
    Last edited by techieMoe; 01-11-2007 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Updated "Security Report: Windows vs Linux" link
    I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

  2. #2
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Some supplementary reading on Malware in Linux can be found on Wikipedia:

    Linux malware - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Registered Linux user #270181

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