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I am a Cyber/Cloud/Information Security Engineer, an Airline Transport Pilot rated pilot, and a traveler. I am interested in all aspects of computing and technology in general, especially Linux and Free Software. As a professional pilot I can be found somewhere over the skies of the southwestern US most weekends.  As a traveler I have been to many interesting places. Check out my photo gallery. Want to get me something cool? Check out my wish list!

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Popularity and viruses

by Tracy R Reed — last modified Jan 01, 2009 11:49 PM

Windows apologists have always said that the only reason Linux doesn't
have viruses (or worms, which are the same for the purpose of this
discussion) is because it is not nearly as common as Windows, disregarding
the vastly different security model.

The traditional response has been to point out that Apache has a much
larger market share than IIS yet IIS has many more security problems,
exploits, viruses, etc. than Apache.

I just read on /. that there is a virus going around attacking Windows
systems through MySQL. I don't know the details of how it does it but
apparently it has already found and infected quite a few Windows machines.
You would think Windows servers running MySQL would be pretty darn rare,
and you would be right. This is another excellent example of how
popularity is not necessary for a platform or specific software
combination to be targeted for viruses.

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Posted by Philip at Jan 01, 2009 11:42 PM

Apart from Linux problems created by on-line root users and these are certainly not "Linux Virus Problems" but "Stupid User Problems," there being a huge difference, can somebody tell me if there is such a thing as a non-laboratory serious Linux virus and if so what on earthis it?

Nope, no Linux viruses in the wild

Posted by Tracy R Reed at Jan 01, 2009 11:42 PM
I have been using Linux since 1993 and not one single time (no exceptions!) have I ever seen a Linux virus in the wild. So far they simply do not exist. And due to the way Linux is designed and used (normal users don't have root privs, email programs tend not to automatically execute attachments, etc) I doubt Linux will ever have a real virus problem. People seem to think that viruses are inevitable and they always say "When Linux is more popular it will have viruses" but this assumes that it is normal that a computer gets viruses. That simply isn't true. That is like saying it is normal that your car always breaks down. It isn't normal but it is bad design to allow that sort of thing to happen.