Linux and Viruses

Why Linux doesn't have problem of viruses? Is Linux most secure Operating System? No! Believe me, there is nothing like perfectly secure in the world. But then why does Windows only suffer with such a huge problem of viruses?

The fact being that Windows is most widely used desktop OS. Most of the virus writers prefer to write viruses for windows. Writing virus for windows guaranties you mass spreading and infection. But that is not the only reason. How many people do you know always use windows with a non privileged account? Most of the Windows users log in with Administrator account. Dont be surprised if people laugh on a Linux / Unix user logging on as always as root. Windows does not follow good practices in this sense to discourage people for using Administrator account for normal usage. Where as there are certain Linux programs which will warn you if you are trying to run them as root. When you have logged onto your system with privileged user and when you are attacked by a virus you are bound to cause more damage to the system since they execute code as a privileged user.

Also there are certain areas where Windows does not follow best of the security practices. Its possible for a non privileged windows users to create or register DLL files and also cause some damage to the system. Where as in Linux anything else than root is largely restricted to their home directory and maybe some shared data. Enforcement of security by default is far better in Linux.

One of the important factor about Linux is it runs on large number of platforms. Linux as an Operating System is not standardized. All distributions are different from each other. There are various number of programs aimed at certain purpose. Where as Windows has standard mail client MS Outlook / Outlook Express,IE as the browser. Which makes virus writers life easy, as every Windows machine will have all these programs. Linux users use variety of mail client, so virus aimed at particular mail client may not harm all Linux systems. This makes virus writing for Linux rather difficult (But not impossible!).