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Friday, September 16, 2011

Do You Think Linux is Secure?

Do You Think Linux is Secure?

by Susan Linton - Sep. 14, 2011

Linux has taken a couple of blows recently in the security department raising the question is Linux really secure? Pundits weighed in and opinions were about as diverse as the individuals. Much was rehash written every time this issue arises ranging from Linux permissions makes Linux more secure to Linux is only as secure as its administrator. But what do regular users think? That's what TuxRadar is asking this week in its Open Ballot. One of the more interesting observations came from Kim Andersen who said that the diversity of Linux distributions is one reason why Linux is safer than Windows. For example, a malicious .deb will only work on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, Mepis, or other Debian system. RPM, YUM, Portage, Entropy, Pacman, slackpkg, etc. systems are immune. Tarballs are another subject.
However, another safeguard built into Linux is the large repositories of our most popular distributions. These resources help keep users safer because they won't need to use a search engine and download from untrusted sources, says Shimi.
Then there were several that echoed the sentiment that as Linux popularity grows, so will attacks and attempted attacks. This has been a reoccurring notion for quite a while now, but some think that's something Linux will probably never have to worry about. I'm starting to think Linux may never reach that level of market share either. If there was ever a chance it was with the release of Vista coinciding with the Ubuntu rise. Linux gained some ground, but most of that bump trickled back away with Windows 7 and all those handy gadgets.
Shimi later made another interesting point, even if a bit off-topic. But (s)he wondered, "Didn't Microsoft just got all of a sudden involved in the linux kernel? Interesting timing, Perhaps that way it wasn't suspicious that they were poking around" I don't Microsoft is all that worried about Linux anymore. I think we were even recently removed from its enemies list (see above).
Stunonymous Penguin asserts that Linux users are just more security conscious and have lots of intrusion and vulnerability testing software. But he goes on further to state that risk is increasing due to the growing popularity of personal package archives and one-click installers that allow users to install anything without any thought of security or damage to their systems.

I've been running Linux for over 6 years now. Starting with a Fedora Remix (Blag 5) and then moving on to Debian Etch for a year or so, when Blag, Blagged out at 9. Then to Fedora 11 and on through to 14. And Yes... I think these are all Valid Points. With Fedora there is the Royal Pain in the Butt... SELinux. It wont let you do anything, without stopping it or squawking about it. But, I think it is a highly effective Pain. And well worth learning how to use the GUI Apps that are now available to help us figure out SELinux. Unless of course you are a Command Line Guru... then you probably know just how to use SEL anyway. But, I never quite got the hang of making new Rules to allow what ever it was that I wanted to do. Finally, now though. The SELinux Report Tool is giving us a helping hand and at least giving us the Commands to Run in the Terminal and a couple of choices as to what we might want to do. It can still become time consuming and seems to give no results at all, sometimes. But, still it's a step forward for all of us who were Raised up on MS OSmeal, but now want to stay free of it Bonds! Anyway... Ya, I learned the hard way about Admin - root Privileges. I lost my beloved Blag 7 System in one click. Buy installing a "What are you worth" or something like that, Browser Plug-in App. Sent form a friend on MySpace, back in the day. Remember MySpace? You know... The original Face Book:O I was running my System as the root user. I knew better, but just hadn't got around to reinstalling all of my Apps and moving all of my files over to my regular user account. I had started out in root mode, before I understood the consequences. Hey, back then allot of people were questioning the need to run in a restricted user mode in Linux... But, it only took me one complete System loss, to change my mind about running a System with Admin - root Privileges!:O I do think, that User Privileges alone, wont Cut IT, in Protecting your System though. Something like SELinux is Definitely needed these days. Also, I always install ClamAV with the Klam GUI on all of my Linux Systems (it is the easiest GUI to me to use). Along with an e-mail scanning Add-on. And I scan all of my Files and Attached Drives Regularly. I would set it to Automatic, if it weren't so darn hard to setup. I never could get that working with ClamAV. I still have to do it Manually. By the way... These things... I believe, are the main reason that Windows users are slow to adopt Linux. The lack of Easy to use GUI Apps for the most important Functions in a Computer System. Virus Scanning, Security Settings in SELinux, that are easy to understand and use. Right now, I can't think of more, since I have hardly touched a Windoze Machine in over 6 years. But, these are very important to new Linux users. Because, you can bet, that they will be trying out Wine, for those beloved exe Window Apps or Games that they think they can't live without. And all Computer users of any OS, should always Scan every Downloaded file, with some kind of AV Tool, before e-mailing or uploading it for a Friend. And then there's those Internet Hacker Cracker Trolls. Those Apps that constantly Crawl the Internet looking for Open Ports to try out a Password Cracking Tool on!:O And the more Successful that Linux gets. The more Attention. The more users that Linux gets... The more Attacks we will Receive... There are always those in Society, who love to Take Down the Successful... How many BG and MS haters are out there???


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