Do Linux Computers Need Antivirus Software?

Do Linux Computers Need Antivirus Software?

Windows' penetration in the desktop operating systems market is far ahead of Linux. Between these two desktop OS platforms, it is a well-known fact that Windows is much more vulnerable to malware attacks. Only a few thousand malware programs target Linux, while tens of thousands target Windows. This begs the question, does Linux need antivirus protection?

This relative lack of malware for the Linux OS platforms may lure some users into a sense of security, compelling them to ignore Linux antivirus software. However, is this assurance of security guaranteed? Is it important to install antivirus software in your Linux-run computer?

Where Is Linux Used Most?
When you hear of Linux, you might, like most people, associate it with a desktop or laptop. However, this is just one of the areas where you can use Linux. Many other devices, including DVR set-top boxes, smart TVs, servers and data centers, run on some version of Linux. In fact, a big part of the internet uses Linux. This probably includes your favorite forum, blog, social media or other website. This article, however, focuses on the vulnerability of the desktop operating system.

Why Linux Computers Face Fewer Attacks
The major reason Linux computers face fewer malware risks than Windows-run computers is simply that not as much malware targets them. The people who create malware today are largely aiming at making money. This is why most malware focuses on vices such as fraud, unpermitted advertising and theft of financial information. The fact that Windows is more popular than Linux removes economic incentive to create a lot of malware for Linux. The difference in antimalware security structure between Linux and Windows operating systems also accounts for the differences in vulnerability.

Should You Take Precautions?
A lower risk of attack does not mean there's no risk. You should, therefore, install secure Linux antivirus software and keep it up to date. To secure your computer against viruses, it is also important to know their common sources:

  • External hardware connected to your computer. USB drives or SD cards containing malware can easily transfer it to your system. Take precautions when connecting external hardware.
  • Certain websites may be running on outdated versions of Linux or another operating system. This can allow malware to pass through the site's firewall, posing a security risk to your computer when you visit the site.
  • You can inadvertently open an infected email and download malware disguised as an attachment. Most malware spreads in this manner.
  • You may, without knowing, infect your computer with malware from gaming sites, pornography sites and file-sharing sites, among others.

With time, you will see an increase in efforts to create dangerous malware targeted for Linux systems. Do not get lured into a false sense of security. Take precautionary measures now; install a Linux antivirus.

Does Ubuntu Need Antivirus Software?
Since Ubuntu is a version of Linux (a Linux distro), the above also applies to it, so an antivirus for Ubuntu is something to consider. In fact, since Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro used on desktops, it faces more risk than others do. Therefore, Ubuntu antivirus software is a good option.

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