Virus on Unix

Posted on 2001-06-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
why there are not or less viruses in Unix sytems?
Question by:rahulverma
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Accepted Solution

yuzh earned 150 total points
ID: 6223800
Hi rahulverma,

    UNIX have different permission for files and directory, when you
need to modify some of the system files, you need to be "root" to
be able to make the change, and this require to know the root password.

   And almost every sigle UNIX box has their own customise setting, this
make it very hard to write the virus program for UNIX.
   You need to have super usr permissions to run a program to change, the system settings.


Author Comment

ID: 6223822
The same thing is there with Windows NT , where you need to be Administrator to modify systems settings .. and almost all unix and have configuration for password files ..etc and all are POSIX compliant ..so I don't agree with this .. Please give some concrete answers ..

Expert Comment

ID: 6224597
Most virii use some sort of feature of the OS that can be abused.  These include trojan horses, which appear to be something else, like a game or screen saver.

Other virii use visual basic which is enabled by default on Windows machines.  You will have no doubt heard of the 'I LOVE YOU' virus and several Word macros.  These are quite prolific on the internet because Microsoft has done such a good job integrating their products and providing APIs so that programmers can write code to interact with them.

UNIX can limit the effect of virii because of inherent security that has been intrinsic for many years.  There has been, and continue to be, several vulnerabilities however.  But because of the volume of UNIX users and their concern for security any bugs are addressed very quickly and patches are released within days or even hours of major bugs.

Another reason why there is less virii for UNIX is that the source code for many of the implementations/distributions is made public.  This makes is easier for the public supporters to find bugs and address them before some hacker does.

Finally, many virii are spread via 'fun' stuff, like email attachments and games.  UNIX is not really used by the masses as a preferred desktop for recreation.  Therefore there is a reduced liklihood that a virus will be developed as the potential for damage is considerably reduced.

Hope this helps,

Regards, Nisus
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Author Comment

ID: 6226443
Yes , I agree with you , but I didn't get what I wanted , can someone please advise more about it

Expert Comment

ID: 6228094
More or less viruses compared to what?

You question is badly written, so don't expect great answers.

Expert Comment

ID: 6228130
what are you looking for?  Do you have an opinion you want confirmed or denied?

help us to help you!!!


Author Comment

ID: 6229934
more or less means , I am not telling you that you have don't have virus in Unix , you have , but I want to know that why it is that much prevalent in windows environment as compared to windows NT. Guys I am looking for some good answer like one I got from my friend that is : because of Most Unix OS has proprietary platform , whose architecture is not open to world like Intel , so It can be easily effected with Virus , What you people think about it ...

Expert Comment

ID: 6233182
It is more down to the software, and the vulnerabilities that the software contains.

You must remember that there are more intel based windows systems in everyday use than there are UNIX systems.  The operating system security and controls are very important.

Another important factor I believe is that more people hate/don't like Microsoft and want to make life difficult for them.

I don't think it is a hardware issue as such.

I'm not sure I understand your friend.  All of Microsoft's code is proprietary and is not made public.   The code for Solaris and Linux is freely available and the public are allowed to change it as they please for their own use.  So, I would say that UNIX is generally more open.

Does anyone else have anything else to contribute?

Expert Comment

ID: 6233448
The UNIX model was safer from the start, if one learned to use UNIX one learned about security, there was no way around that.

MS learned that security is an importan issue far too late, thus they happily allow their applications to do pretty much whatever they want with the OS resources.

Windows NT some how has imporved on that (and hopefuly Windows 2000 and WXP have done as well), nevertheless the intrusive nature of MS when it comes to how they relate to their clients means they are far more willing to ignore or downplay security vulnerabilities in their products. I have seen already people playing with the posibilities to create viruses using the  "smart tags".

MS does not undertand that remote product registration (one new "feature" they want to introduce now) could be fresh ground for viruses.

UNIX in the other hand has been deployed for many years in environments that have to be secure (banks, accounting departments), thus the UNIX sys admins, engineers and programmers tend to be more conscious and knowledgable about security issues.

Intel has very little to do with this. It is the OS and the applications which have good or bad security, not the CPU. You can run Windows, WinNT or UNIX in the same Intel CPUs and the security issues change which each OS.

Although openess of the OS code could be a good thing that does not explain all. Apple is also a closed source company, nevertheless they are relatively secure machines (they don't have a command line interface, that mades them less hackable). .

I hope this complementts what you already know.

Expert Comment

ID: 6509960
I think you will find the best answer here



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