The ways of viruses in Linux


Article from Issue 62/2006

Some say an attack is looming, and others say we don’t have to worry. What’s the real story on viruses in Linux?

Linux may not be as vulnerable as Windows, but if you think Linux viruses don't exist, you’d better think again. Virus writers have any number of possibilities for passing viruses into Linux, although the damage will be limited if you’re careful and follow a few simple rules. In this article, I’ll describe some examples of how Linux viruses work, and I’ll give you some tips for keeping your system safe. A Theoretical Linux Virus Most Linux distributions come with gzexe, a small utility that compresses executable files and automatically uncompresses them when they’re started. For example, you can copy /bin/date to /tmp and run gzexe /tmp/date to compress the executable file. The size of /bin/date and /tmp/date should differ, and the latter should be noticeably smaller. Now try to run both files. Do you notice any difference?

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