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Thread: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

  1. #1
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    Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    One of the greatest features of Linux that I along with many other users enjoy is security. As Linux veterans know, anti-virus is not necessary because there are very few, if any viruses out there that will infect the Linux OS. But my question is this: As popularity continues to grow, with many retailers now including Linux as a preloaded OS option, will security be threatened?

    I know that despite retailers pairing Linux with new systems, Linux still had less than one percent of the market share in operating systems, with Windows still retaining over ninety percent the last time I checked. But with more and more people converting to Linux, I think those numbers will really begin to change. I can't see Linux being the dominant OS, but I can see it being popular enough for someone to be motivated to launch an attack on it. I did read bodhi.zazen's post on Linux security, which says that Linux is programmed to be more immune to viruses than is Windows, but I would think that if Linux becomes popular enough, someone will still feel motivated to find holes in its programming.

    Does anyone else see this as a possible danger?

  2. #2
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    Yes and no. The bad thing is that more users can equal bad people doing bad things. The good thing is that any vulnerabilities found can be fixed by anyone, the common user does not have to wait for someone's boss to give permission to fix it. Also, with a community, anytime I have heard of something that could be potentially bad, like Automatix (which I loved), there are lots of town criers letting people know there may be issues. MS is not a community, so most users don't know about problems, unless they are so bad they make the news (and they watch the news). I personally think that if FOSS is truly popular or used correctly, the users will join communities. I could be wrong.


  3. #3
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    It will, but not to the point that Windows has gotten. More users will equal more viruses, but Linux is by nature more secure, and the open source model will allow vulnerabilities to be fixed much more quickly than with closed source software.

  4. #4
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    People seem to forget that Linux runs on a large proportion of webservers - I'd imagine that if it was easy to write a virus for linux then it would be done. But I think with increasing users there will be more attacks but I suspect they'll all be aimed at tricking the user rather than circumventing the security.
    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself. And Chuck Norris." - President Roosevelt

  5. #5
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    There is no correlation between the number of users and security. If that was true, then Apache must be the worst web server and Cisco routers must be swarming with viruses.

  6. #6
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    Of course, one positive thing to note is that most likely, the majority of Linux users right now are more knowledgeable about computers, or at least are more enthusiastic in their use of them than are those who use Windows, and will probably be more active in their protecting of their computers.

  7. #7
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pandemic187 View Post
    Of course, one positive thing to note is that most likely, the majority of Linux users right now are more knowledgeable about computers, or at least are more enthusiastic in their use of them than are those who use Windows, and will probably be more active in their protecting of their computers.
    this I believe to be true, also Linux is inherently more secure then i windows system,
    There is an easy way, and a hard way to do things.
    If you're anything like me, you've tried to do things things the hard way,

    and broke something.......

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  8. #8
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    Last time I looked Mac OS X was about 6% of the desktops and its had very little problems with virus.

    Microsoft in their wisdom or lack of it made compromises to security that lead to their current problems.

    Unless Linux starts making changes to make it less secure I don't think we have to worry.

    But it is already possible for someone to trick a user into running something that could be an exploit so use caution when installing things from outside the repository.

  9. #9
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    Lightbulb Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrusso2 View Post
    Microsoft in their wisdom or lack of it made compromises to security that lead to their current problems.

    Unless Linux starts making changes to make it less secure I don't think we have to worry.

    But it is already possible for someone to trick a user into running something that could be an exploit so use caution when installing things from outside the repository.
    So very true...
    I see the potentual of Linux every being the easy target Windows is as being very small indeed.
    A friendly & helpful Linux community who has started a large cursor theme project. If you are sick of tiny cursors, go here and get one.
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    Re: Will expanding popularity lead to decreased security?

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanAB View Post
    There is no correlation between the number of users and security. If that was true, then Apache must be the worst web server and Cisco routers must be swarming with viruses.
    there is a correlation. right now Ubuntu is hiding in the background as popularity increases so does visibility. and if your in the front like MS you have a big bullseye
    painted on your chest
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