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  1. #1

    How Ubuntu will block virus/spyware when I surf the web?


    I am new in the Linux user after I was attacked by tons of virus and spyware when I web surf in Windows. I now install Ubuntu 9.10 in my USB drive, and run my current computer by booting from USB drive. I have a question about will Ubuntu block any virus and spyware when I web surf some dangerous website? Because I still have my hard drive with Windows, and I am not sure whether those viruses will be smart enough to stay in my Windows system and are triggered automatically when I run Windows next time?

    Thanks all Linux experts in advance.


  2. #2
    I would run the No scripts and add blocker addon in Ubuntus web browser (if using firefox or seamonkey browsers. Not sure about Epiphany), That will cut out a lot of stuff. Otherwise. Ubuntu is like Teflon. Windows malware just won't stick. You can go into Synaptic Package Manager and install Firestarter

    Hope that answers your query.
    I refuse to let fear and fear of others rule my life. It puts my humanity at risk.
    Accepting Death is the only way to stay alive.

  3. #3
    Just Joined! simon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    New Zealand
    one of the main security advantages gnu/linux has (at present) over windows is simply "security via obscurity": most malware expects to run on windows, and hardly any of it expects to run on gnu/linux (yes, some does, but comparing the malware problem in gnu/linux to the problem in windows is like comparing a large cruise ship to a large continent).

    in regards to windows malware installing itself to windows via ubuntu, if no parts of your windows system are mounted as writable drives in your ubuntu system then you probably have nothing to worry about. even if they are, your question as to "whether those viruses will be smart enough to stay in my windows system" is less of an issue than whether or not they'll be smart enough to infect it in the first place, and in most cases the answer will be no: they think they're running on a windows pc, so they're looking for files and registry entries and so on in their normal windows locations, and will often be trying to alter them via windows-specific code. like most windows code, if you try running it on a gnu/linux box without any special assistance like WINE, it just won't work. which is good news in the case of malware: most of the nasties you encounter on the net can't hurt you if you're running linux; and even the linux-aware malware (and browser-based platform-independent malware scripts and so on) shouldn't be able to gain root access and mount your windows drives to mess with them!

    in fact i'd be very surprised if malware (as opposed to a human cracker) would be clever enough to install itself to your windows system even if your c: drive were mounted as /mnt/windows or whatever, and you're even safer if it isn't: you can be reasonably confident that that your windows system is protected from your ubuntu internet activities if it's not user mountable/writable from the ubuntu system.

    of course, none of this applies to phishing scams and that kind of "dangerous website": no os can protect you from yourself!

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  5. #4
    Thanks folks, your words make me feel very reliable to web surf under Linux. I think I already like how Linux operate, and I regret to try it after more than 10 years stick with Windows.

    In addition, I have another question but it's not related to security, maybe someone can give me a little advice. I install Ubuntu 9.10 in my 16GB USB drive from the live CD I burn. I was using System -> Administration -> USB StartUp Disk Creator. But when I try to format my USB drive, Ubuntu only allows me to set max 4GB for "Stored in reserved extra space". So I basically lost 12GB. Has any way I do it wrong? Should I install it through UNetbootin? If to install through UNetbootin, then I have another problem, it seems not pertinent in the default. So every time when I reboot USB, it will not remember my previous setting. What's the correct way to install Ubuntu to bootable USB with max space I suppose to use and be pertinent for my settings?

    Many appreciate,


  6. #5
    Hi folks,

    I have another question related to Linux security maybe someone can verify it.

    My question is will I get a virus/spyware/malware if I run Ubuntu through Virtualbox under my Windows XP if I do the web surfing?

    I just want to know any possible scenario for me to use Linux under my current PC.

    Thank you,

  7. #6
    Just Joined! simon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    New Zealand
    re the usb drive, you can definitely use more than 4gb (my usb pendrive is formatted as nearly 8gb of fat32 storage) but perhaps you need to use a partition editor like cfdisk or fdisk to see what's going on in yours? in my case i formatted the entire drive (i.e. i ran mkdosfs on /dev/sdg rather than /dev/sdg1) so maybe marking the whole drive as free space and then doing this would allow you to use the whole thing (obviously you'll lose everything on the drive when you format it, so only experiment if you're ok with that). i see that the partition editors still call my whole usb drive "free space", but that doesn't stop me from using it as a fat32 drive.

    i'm afraid i can't help with the "unetbootin" question: i'm not familiar with that as i don't use ubuntu.

    as for virtualbox, that's a good question. i sometimes run xp in virtualbox (for logging in to a work network with custom software that only accepts windows clients) and am confident in that situation that my "real" linux system is safe from any nasties that might infect the "virtual" windows system. however, i'm not sure about the other way around: i don't know much about how virtualbox works in linux, let alone in windows, and i suppose it's possible that when virtualbox translates the virtual (linux) requests for network access into windows code for windows drivers, some kind of vulnerability is introduced. i would guess that the malware you encounter while surfing the internet all requires software like a browser to execute it, in which case you'd be safe (since windows malware can't do much via the virtual linux system's browser) but i will leave this one for someone who knows more about security and/or virtualbox: i would hate to tell you it's safe and then see your system infected by some kind of clever script that exploits the fact that traffic has to go in and out via windows network drivers. i can't imagine how it would do that, but it wouldn't be the first time i said "bollocks, nothing can do that!" only to be wrong (e.g. viruses trashing physical hardware...apparently some old monitors will obligingly fry themselves if software instructs them to do so: how badly would that suck, catching a virus and watching your giant $1000 monitor go boom?!).

    unless you have windows-only hardware or essential windows-only apps, why not just switch to linux? not only will your pc be more secure, but eventually you'll enjoy the freedom to customise your system and automate things via shell scripts and so on, and you'll wonder how you ever coped in windows.

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