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What You Think You Know About Linux Can Hurt You

No doubt everyone’s heard of the old axiom “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. The point of it is that a small amount of knowledge may end up being misleading, since one doesn’t know the entire story. Just enough to get it wrong!

Now, in many cases, the harm done is minor. But when you’re talking about something like a Linux-based system, that misinformation may cause some real damage. So here are some of the more common dangerous myths about Linux. 

Myth 1: Linux Is Immune To Viruses And Malware

Let’s start with quite possibly the biggest and most potentially harmful myth. Yes, it true those Linux systems aren’t vulnerable to the majority of viruses out there, but as the article “4 Security Myths About Linux That Could Bite You Big Time” points out, it’s because more people use Windows-based systems, so that’s where most of the hackers and other cretins focus their efforts. They go for the more target-rich environment.

However, there certainly are worms, viruses, and Trojans that affect Linux. It’s still a risk, especially since many Linux users, convinced of their system’s invulnerability, decline even the most basic security measures, thereby suffering even greater damage from malware or other such incursions.

Myth 2: Linux Has A Low Market Share

Even the idea that Linux isn’t as familiar as Windows and thus more apt to be overlooked by hackers is kind of a shaky proposition. Yes, Linux distributions aren’t setting the laptop/desktop market ablaze, but Linux server distributions make up close to 40% of the market share, and a near-absolute stranglehold on supercomputers.

Still think malware and virus designers are going to ignore Linux?

Myth 3: Windows-based Malware Doesn’t Run On Linux

Not exactly. Thanks to multi-platform frameworks like JavaScript and Adobe Reader, to name a couple, it is entirely possible that a Windows-based virus could conceivably affect a Linux system. Remember this phrase: “cross-platform threats”. It’s bound to come up more often as time goes on.

Myth 4: Linux Is Used By Savvy Computer Experts, And They Know How To Handle Viruses

It’s easy to think of Linux as “that operating system used by computer nerds”. And everyone knows that computer nerds are fearless virus and malware fighters, who know just what to do to keep their precious machines safe.

Um. Not exactly.

Linux has become widely adopted by computer users of all levels of proficiency. Sure, you have the hard-core users, but newbies are finding it just as easy to use. So no, there’s no secret nerd protocol that can be invoked to keep Linux-based systems secure.

To sum it up, Linux may not be as common as Windows, but that decreased visibility doesn’t mean it’s not on hackers and malware developers’ radar. With more people using Linux and the increase in cross-platform applications, the risk of security threats is quite real.

The best measures that a Linux user can take is not to consider themselves immune, but rather, make sure that their systems are protected by a good anti-virus/anti-malware program.