Does Linux needs antivirus?
Using Windows OS without an updated AntiVirus is not really responsible. Many users though who switch to a Linux Distro like Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Manjaro or Fedora, ask them self’s if Linux needs antivirus . The short answer is no, and we’re going to see why.
What is a virus, or else, a malware?
In order for us to understand why an antivirus isn’t necessary in Linux it’s important to understand first how a virus/Trojan/key logger/work/whatever kind of malware works. A malware is a software. Microsoft Word, Skype, Steam, VLC, all those are softwares. Every software is related with the OS that is supposed to be working on. Which means that if we don’t use any simulation methods, it’s close to impossible a software that is written for Windows, to actually work on Linux and vice versa. Even softwares which are common for all platforms, for example: Browsers or Media Players apply to this rule. So their production companies have made different versions of those softwares with similar appearance and capabilities for each OS.
In other words, even though VLC works in Linux we can’t install the same version in both Windows and Linux. Same applies for google chrome in Linux. That specific fact is the guarantee that no malware that is written (developed/programmed) for Windows, cannot infect (work) a Linux system, either we talk about dangerous ransomware like Cryptolocker either we talk about just annoying but harmless softwares like adwares and spywares.
Couldn’t someone built a malware for Linux?
The truth is that that is definitely possible. In 2005, according to Kaspersky Labs the number of malwares for linux, doubled up from 422 to 863. In the same 6months period, Kaspersky discovered 11.000 new malwares for windows, an addition to the already existing ones. Symantec acknowledges about 24 million malwares for windows. And that was almost 2 years ago, so you can imagine how bigger of a number this is now. The main reason for this imbalance is the fact that Windows was, is and most likely will be for a long time, the most popular operating system in PCs. In other words, people that spend time producing Malwares prefer to target the majority and they don’t deal with Linux except a very small percentage.
Why Linux is safer from Malwares
Even though there are malwares or Linux, the above numbers that where acknowledged from Kaspersky is definitely sure that will be higher by today and almost no user uses an antivirus in Linux. The fact is that there was never an “epidemic” of infections from malwares that target Linux OS. This happens for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost in Linux we install software with a different way. In order for us to install a software in Windows, if we haven’t bought it in a CD or DVD, we’ll have to download it from the internet or from manufacturers website or from other websites. In Linux though we will rarely need to download some software from an irrelevant website. The reason is that there are Software Repositories. A software repository is something like a warehouse for softwares, which contains specific software editions which we can either install with just a click either with a command.
The applications that are added in repositories are checked as far as their security from people that maintain the repository. Every big Linux distro has its own repositories which are checked from the company that maintains the distro. For example: Canonical – Ubuntu. Also there is the possibility that we can add additional repositories in case the ones that come activated with the Linux distro do not contain an app that we need. Of course we need to be careful when we want to add a repository because an unknown one could be a problem for our system.
In Linux, we don’t install cracked softwares because usually they don’t exist. Because there is no reason (well…in most cases) for a SW to be cracked when it’s free. One of the biggest dangers of infection in Windows is when someone wants to install a cracked commercial software. For this to happen someone either a “Crack” software to crack the app for him either for the software(the commercial one) to be downloaded from a P2P like Bittorent or Utorrent. There is no guarantee that those cracked softwares are not loaded with a malware (at least) and maybe our antivirus wasn’t able to trace. In Linux distros 90% of the software is usually free so there is no reason (or way maybe) for us to downloaded cracked. That includes even strong professional tools such as GIMP and InkScape (like we say Photoshop and Illustrator for Windows).
Linux provides most of the softwares we need.
An average user that simply wants to navigate through the internet or watch movies and listen to music, or even to use Office apps usually doesn’t need to install any additional application on Linux. The most popular Linux Distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Mageia or Fedora etc the have already pre-installed apps like Mozilla FireFox, Libre Office, softwares of watching movies(Totem) or Rhythmbox for listening music.
In Linux nobody is always the Admin (root)
As we previously said one of the biggest security leaks of Windows is the fact that most users use an account that it continuously has admin privileges. So a single “mistake” someone does during his browsing, can be really costly.
Linux users have at least a minimum amount of knowledge
That doesn’t mean that every windows user is a beginner or a clueless user. But there are a lot of windows users which are completely unaware of the fact that your pc can get infected simply by visiting website and make a “wrong” click. On average most of Linux users that have used at least a Linux distro are generally more advanced users. For sure you don’t really install Linux by mistake because you just had nothing better to do. They chose a different OS with pros and cons for several reasons, one of those being, security! So whats your opinion? Does Linux needs antivirus?