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When is a virus a virus April 10, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.

News struck earlier today of a new crossplatform virus that can attack Windows and Linux.  While they are crediting this as a Proof of concept, crossplatform viruses have always been a possibility.  With crossplatform programming languages, ie Java, Mono and RealBASIC the possibilty was always there to write a crossplatform virus and despite what Jonathan Schwartz or anyone else at Sun believes, Java viruses are around.  There are UNIX viruses, DOS viruses were plenty fruitful when we had all those DOS variant playing a role, and there were plenty of classic Mac viruses.   It is only a matter of time before we have an abundance of Linux and Mac OS X viruses.

Many argue that a Linux virus cannot be as powerful as Windows viruses because of the setting of user permissions, and that only root can install software.  True but there are still plenty of ways to wreak a lot of havoc with a Linux and Mac virus.

Linux and Mac users have been very lucky, so far those platforms have been able to fly under the radar but as popularity picks up and these systems become more mainstream only a damn fool would believe that the situation would remain the same.  Should users be worried right now?  No, its just something they should be aware of and be able to plan for when it happens.   I guess only time will tell if the myth that Linux is resistant to viruses holds water, or if that myth sinks like the Titanic



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