How does Ubuntu communicate with the Win 7 installation?

Mark O'Brien
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I installed Ubuntu on my hdd and I am able to "take" music from the Win 7 install and play it!  How do these OS's share files and yet Ubuntu will not allow malware to infect the Windows installation or vice versa.  This is very interesting and confusing.  I thought these OS's were not compatible and b/c theyre on different sectors of the hdd, they couldnt communicate, but apparently Im wrong abot all that!
Any help is appreciated.
Thank you,
Mark88
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Commented:
In your case, Ubuntu has the ability to browse CIFS partitions, hence access and play music from the Windows file system.

Malware are mostly created for Windows, this is why Windows is so vulnerable. Executables (.exe) are just a double-click away from infecting your Windows computer. Linux does not use extensions, or understand executables, so it cannot get infected with a double-click.

On Linux you'll have to become root, change the permissions of a file, and then run it, in order to execute it.

Windows and Linux communicate through network using protocols like Samba (file sharing), FTP, HTTP etc.

Let me know if you need further clarifications.
Commented:
I don't know about 'vice versa'. The reason a windows virus can't infect you when the machine is booted in Ubuntu is more to do with file permissions and the way security is implemented.

Vice versa though, if you boot the machine in windows a virus can run and possibly do damage to the part of the hard disk that ubuntu is installed on.
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Commented:
If I interpret your Question correctly, You have installed Ubuntu as dual boot on the same PC where you have installed Windows 7, and you can access the files on the Windows7 part of the PC?

If that is the situation, then this has nothing to do with cifs or networking. Rather, ubuntu is just accessing your windows NTFS file-system. Since quite some time most Linux distributions can read and write without issue to NTFS partitions, as drivers have been created for that. On the other hand, if you want to access non m$ file-systems from a windows OS, you can't do that as m$ hasn't bothered making drivers for that, but there are some 3rd party utilities available that allow you to access some of those file-systems.

As for malware, it is possible for Linux to store such on your Windows partition. But there are currently not very many viruses that run on Linux, and malware that was written for the Windows OS only won't run on Linux. Maybe once Linux gets more widely used, more malware will get written for that platform. Apart from that linux is generally more secure, one reason being that users don't have administrative rights and so malware can usually only affect that user but not the complete OS (on Ubuntu you have to use "sudo" and enter the user password to get elevated rights). On Windows, although you can and should only use standard user accounts, and not those with administrator rights, most people only setup their account to have administrator rights and that opens up ways of attack for malware. UAC though has improved this a bit...
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Commented:
Really interesting techs!  Thank you for posting.  I may have more questions about this.
Mark O'BrienDispatch Software Support and Server Administration

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Commented:
Rindi, yes I installed ubuntu on the same hdd so I get a boot menu choice when I start the pc.

So as I read these posts my understanding is that even though ubuntu can get my music, since it doesnt read .xxx file extensions, it cannot be attacked by malware.  But arent music files an extension type file, too?  If ubuntu can read the music files, why cant it read the rest of the data on my Win 7 install?
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Commented:
It can read all files, but it doesn't necessarily know what to do with all of them as windows uses extensions in file-names that Linux doesn't use. Even if the extensions are the same, code written for Windows won't run on Linux. Also, most malware comes as executable files, and in Windows those are files with the "exe" extensions. Those executables have to be run in most cases for the malware to run and load into the memory of the PC and start it's actions. As Linux doesn't know what to do with those files it can't start the malware (actually, with "wine", which is a Windows emulator that runs on 'nix platforms, you can start many of those files under Linux, provided wine is installed, but because Linux works differently the malware will usually not be able to do any harm to the OS, and apart from that software that runs using wine runs in a something similar to a "sandbox", so the rest of the OS is safe).

Music files usually are just music files, and even if malware is hidden inside it, that malware would have to be designed to attack the OS it runs on, and currently most of those  criminals that program those bugs don't bother, as Linux isn't yet that widely used as desktop OS, and it would make the programming much more difficult and time consuming.

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