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.... and how do they spread? If I put in a USB stick with a virus on it, can it then get onto the system? I'd like to know from ...
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  1. #1
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    How do Linux viruses get onto the system?


    .... and how do they spread? If I put in a USB stick with a virus on it, can it then get onto the system?
    I'd like to know from a software developers point of view.



    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    This is NOT a simple question! If the virus is Windows-specific, then it will probably not be propagated to your Linux system; however, application-specific viruses may still "infect" an application that uses those files. Advice? Use a good virus scanner if you have ANY suspicion that a USB drive has an infection. Unlike Windows, installing an infectect USB drive into a Linux system is much less likely to automatically spread the infection, simply because of how Linux works. These days - not 100% safe...
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    No, my question was really, academic. I wanted to know, the part of Linux that mounts a USB stick when it's inserted (I forget what its called, Avahi right?), can that be compromised? If so, how?

    And, what is the artchitecture of the kernel that prevents something INSIDE AN ELF FILE to spread?

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    well ,maybe the complete answer will take a book.

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    I think this is a *very* good question.

    I don't think you can get a virus on linux just by plugging a USB stick in and poking through the files. You have to actually *run* something to get a virus.

    IMHO the only way the kernel can be compromised is with 3rd party patches and other such hackery. You end up compiling yourself a buggy/infected kernel.

    Precompiled binaries (ELF) are dangerous too. I know people like to get upgrades from repos that are precompiled. It takes a lot of the effort out of compiling your own from source, but it still leaves you open to evil-doers. The linux world is changing fast.

    Does anyone *really* trust Adobe? All they offer is precompiled stuff for linux, and they're in it for the money. There are many examples of this and it seems to be getting more each day. Lately I've been finding it more and more difficult to get the actual source code for programs. Up until about 2005, the only way to get anything working on linux was to compile it from source. There you can inspect the code and modify it to your heart's content.

    But, as always, the real strength of linux is in the vast myriad of distros and individual variations. Just because you can crack one system, doesn't mean you can crack them all. Quite the opposite of the MS world, where one virus can infect every similar system across the globe.

    Websites are notorious spreaders of filth and vermin. I use an old version of Opera where I can identify as Opera, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. I can very much see how certain sites try various tricks to get my PC to execute nasty javascript/activeX/whatever. I'm lucky. If Opera doesn't like the tricks, it more or less crashes. Fine with me.

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    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miven View Post
    I think this is a *very* good question.

    I don't think you can get a virus on linux just by plugging a USB stick in and poking through the files. You have to actually *run* something to get a virus.
    Actually you can, what people in general don't understand is a USB stick contains/is a very small computer that when you plug it in it powers up and serves up the storage on the stick. So the computer in the stick can be programmed to do more than serve data like load a vulnerability. Luckly programming USB sticks is in it early stages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    Actually you can, what people in general don't understand is a USB stick contains/is a very small computer that when you plug it in it powers up and serves up the storage on the stick. So the computer in the stick can be programmed to do more than serve data like load a vulnerability. Luckly programming USB sticks is in it early stages.
    Really? How does one access this programming layer? I always thought it existed, but assumed it worked only on Windows. Kinda like autorun on CD's.

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    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miven View Post
    Really? How does one access this programming layer? I always thought it existed, but assumed it worked only on Windows. Kinda like autorun on CD's.
    Have to search around, there is info showing up on overseas sites.

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