windows users know them too well…linux- and mac-users have been spared and often bragged that they don’t need to worry about them. i am talking about malware or malicious code. malicious code is trying to take advantage of the user’s resources (financial, hardware, bandwidth, data…) without being detected by the user. this week a supposed screensaver on gnome-look.org actually contained no screensaver but code for a DoS attack on www.mmowned.com.(more information)
the malware can easily be removed (here), but what do we learn from this incident? a first look on the code reveals again how simple it is to write such small pieces of code, and surely the little boy who created it learned all the stuff by himself without getting a bachelor or master degree. but more importantly it shows that linux is spreading and gaining more and more standard users, which is making linux more vulnerable as well. up to now linux has been a safe operating system, not because the code was better but mainly because the users knew what they were doing, and the user is still the best protection against any malware.
in the same way as linux, osx is getting more and more exposed, not because code is getting worse, but because those two os have become an excellent alternative to windows and many non-tech (or non-geek) people are migrating from windows to one of them. often those users believe that linux and osx are safe and that no malware exists for those, so the users are erroneously mislead and they put themselves (and others, case of a DOS attack) at risk. for windows the users knew they had to add a virus- and malware-protection and they must know that the same risks exist for any operating systems (even iphones).
virus protection (here), firewalls (here), user rights, updates and upgrades…all these things exists not only in the windows world, they can be useful in linux as well and users have to understand why and when they can be useful and were the dangers are. anyway the user himself is the only one who (if possible) can protect himself, but don’t argue that any operating system is better because they don’t know malware.