Few Linux Viruses Exist in the Wild
Why Linux is Safer Than Windows
- Package Managers and Software Repositories: When you want to install a new program on your Windows desktop, you head to Google and search for the program. When you want to install most programs on Linux, you open your package manager and download it from your Linux distribution’s software repositories. These repositories contain trusted software that has been vetted by your Linux distribution – users aren’t in the habit of downloading and running arbitrary software.
- Other Security Features: Microsoft has been doing a lot of work to fix serious security problems with Windows. Until UAC was introduced with Windows Vista, Windows users almost always used the Administrator account all the time. Linux users normally used limited user accounts and became the root user only when necessary. Linux also has other security features, like AppArmor and SELinux.
- Market Share and Demographics: Linux has historically had low market share. It has also been the domain of geeks that tend to be more computer-literate. Compared to Windows, it’s not nearly as big or easy a target.
Staying Secure on Linux
- Keep Your Software Updated: In an age when browsers and their plug-ins – particularly Java and Flash – are the top targets, staying up-to-date with the latest security patches is important. The biggest malware problem on Mac OS X was caused by the Java plug-in. With a cross-platform piece of software like Java, the same vulnerability can work on Windows, Mac, and Linux. On Linux, you can update all your software with a single, integrated updater.
- Beware Phishing: Phishing – the practice of creating websites that pretend to be other websites – is just as dangerous on Linux or Chrome OS as it is on Windows. If you visit a website that pretends to be your bank’s website and enter your banking information, you are in trouble. Luckily, browsers like Firefox and Chrome on Linux have the same anti-phishing filter they do on Windows. You don’t need an Internet security suite to protect against phishing. (However, bear in mind that the phishing filter doesn’t catch everything.)
- Don’t Run Commands You Don’t Trust: The Linux command prompt is powerful. Before you copy-paste a command you read somewhere into the terminal, ask yourself whether you trust the source. It could be one of the 8 Deadly Commands You Should Never Run on Linux.