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Can we let the "Linux to young for virus" myth die now?

Felinoid (16872) writes | more than 8 years ago

User Journal 3

Linux was created in the early 1990s based on the Unix design of the 1960s.

First part of this myth is that hackers want access to home users computers not the large Unix servers.

The point of hacking was (and still is) to gain access to the high end computers. Most of them ran Unix or Unix based operating systems.

Linux was created in the early 1990s based on the Unix design of the 1960s.

First part of this myth is that hackers want access to home users computers not the large Unix servers.

The point of hacking was (and still is) to gain access to the high end computers. Most of them ran Unix or Unix based operating systems.

Trojens and viruses are the ultimat means of hacking into any given computer. If it was truely as easy to make a Unix virus as it is to make a PC virus then every hacker would have at least two Unix viruses in his or her toolkit long before the creation of Dos.

The second part of the myth is that Linux hasn't been around "long enough".
It was only a handful of months after Dos receaved the ability to multitask in the background. At this point in time the vast majority of home users still had Commodore 64s, Apple IIs and other 6502 or 8080 based computers.
IBM PCs were still primaraly small to medium sized business machines.

The viruses were created for and targeted at BBSes. Only a tiny handful of people were expected to be infected. However the viruses were far more powerful than expected.

Linux was already a decade old and had a larger userbase than Dos did when the first clames of Linux being too young.

Now Linux runs on nearly all the servers (the target of every hacker), Linux is older than Dos was, Linux has a larger userbase than Dos did.

Also there were viruses for the Amiga, Atart ST and other platforms that died due to lack of sales.

Size and age weren't the desiding facters.
The ONLY factor involed in the creation of a virus is the possability.

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3 comments

Spelling (1)

IpalindromeI (515070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13295039)

Some spelling corrections:
  • should have used "too" instead of "to" in your title
  • trojans
  • ultimate
  • truly
  • received
  • primarily
  • claims
  • deciding
  • factors
  • involved
  • possibility


And regarding your content, the belief is that Linux is not popular enough, not that it isn't old enough.

Now Linux runs on nearly all the servers

Linux has made inroads in server market, but I would wager that Unix is still far more widespread than Linux in this area.

The other weakness in your argument is that nefarious hackers don't want access to home computers. I think that's a pretty naive view. There are benefits to both. Turning a hundred thousand home computers into your personal zombie army affords a lot of power.

Plus, I think many viruses are written just because the author can or wants to prove something. They really aren't looking to break in to anything. The viruses just wreak havoc; that is the goal. Witness the various email viruses. What purpose do they have other than sowing chaos? These types of viruses target home users just as much as businesses.

Re:Spelling (1)

Felinoid (16872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13371667)

> Linux has made inroads in server market, but I would wager that Unix is still far more widespread than Linux in this area.

And you'd lose.
Based on stats from the Internet Operating System Counter Linux was running on the majority of servers when it shut down years ago.
Linux continued to make inroads from that time.

> The other weakness in your argument is that nefarious hackers don't want access to home computers. I think that's a pretty naive view. There are benefits to both. Turning a hundred thousand home computers into your personal zombie army affords a lot of power.

All that power is used to take down ONE server for a piriod of time.
Even when the hacker is going after desktops ultimatly he is targetting SERVERS.

Re:Spelling (1)

IpalindromeI (515070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13379130)

The untouchable reputability of the Internet Operating System Counter notwithstanding, there are more servers than just those that serve web pages. Big companies have hundreds of servers, only a couple of which are public-facing. They may host their website with Apache on Linux, but their critical business processes probably run on big iron, which until very recently only ran Unix. It takes a long time to migrate critical stuff like that, so I would be surprised if much of it has been.

All that power is used to take down ONE server for a piriod of time.

Ah, but the contention from your original post was : "The point of hacking was (and still is) to gain access to the high end computers." Taking a server down using a botnet doesn't provide access to it. In fact, it does the opposite. So these hackers create an army of zombies to make it more difficult to achieve their only goal? Seems unlikely.

My point was, as I said, that there are different reasons people create viruses and trojans. Trying to assert that the only purpose is to gain access to restricted servers is faulty reasoning. I think most viruses are just created out of boredom or conceit or vindictiveness. To have the maximum impact they pursue the widest target, which is definitely not Linux.
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