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Are Linux Systems No Longer “Safer” from Malware Attacks?

Linux systems have increasingly begun to be targeted by hackers for different reasons. One of those reasons is that most users tend to feel that Linux-based distributions are far more secure than the traditional Windows systems. This is in some terms true, but not by far. Since most companies and users have migrated to Linux OS’s and Mac OS’s, hackers have begun to realize that these type UNIX-based operating systems will contain information of significantly greater value.

Since Linux systems pre-load their components anew every time they boot, they are far more secure than Windows OS’s. But do not be too sure about that and do not think you are safe if you are using Linux. There are many threats out there to watch for.

Ransomware for Linux

Yes, ransomware for Linux is not a strange or a new concept. It is becoming more and more popular. One particular example for this is the Fairware ransomware threat, which aims to target just the Linux systems with greatest value – web servers. Many servers, like Apache and other types of UNIX-based servers may become victims of this threat. And what is worse about it is that it also has the capability of directly threating to delete the website folder crucial for it’s database. And not only this, the ransom note of these viruses also demands a higher payoff than your usuall ransomware, threatening different actions, like doxing the files. This new type of evolved ransomware has new tricks up it’s sleeve. It actually threatens to publicly expose the files if a ransom is not paid, suggesting that they may have been stolen by the crooks. Scary stuff.

Botnets Like Mirai

A relatively new trojan whose source code was released by the one who developed it became a hit in the underground. This massive threat, which became one of the largest botnet malware and certainly the largest one in terms of IoT devices hacked, has the capability of demolishing Linux-based operating systems via a Denial-of-Service or DDoS attacks. The virus has the capabilities on even attacking older Intel computers, having a 32-bit architecture on their processors. The methods for it causing multiple types of DDoS attacks on compromised computers – via the protocols UDP, GRE, DNS, TCP and even HTTP, pointing out to it’s sophistication.

Trojan Horses

Mirai is one of many Trojans detected out there. But it’s capabilities were only focused but not limited to DDoS attacks. There are many Trojans for Linux out there, that attack default-modified and not properly secure Linux systems (for example, without a root password). They not only have the capability of infecting Linux distributions of a wide range, but perform multiple activities on them as well. One of those Trojans, Ekoms can directly record sound and take screenshots from the PC.


These threats are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to damage being done by Linux malware. Some specific Linux viruses have the capability of mining crypto-currencies, like the Bitcoin miner malware for linux, discovered a while back to infect users via various spam campaigns.

The Bottom Line

As a conclusion, Linux and other UNIX systems are definitely more advanced in terms of how they boot up and how their core structure design is arranged. However, if you ask malware researchers what can stop a well-determined hacker with resources, they will laugh at you for couple of seconds. We cannot advise much, because every Linux user knows that more configuration on their OS’s means higher security, so all we can do here is provide you with some beginner tips to secure Linux systems:

Protect Your Linux Device from Exploits and Malware

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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