Why Linux users should worry about malware and what they can do about it

Preventing the spread of malware and/or dealing with the consequences of infection are a fact of life when using computers. If you’ve migrated to Linux or Mac seeking refuge from the never-ending stream of threats that seems to target Windows, you can breath a lungful of fresh air—just don’t let your guard down.

Though UNIX-like systems such as Mac OS X and Linux can claim fewer threats due to their smaller user bases, threats do still exist. Viruses can be the least of your problem too. Ransomware, like the recent version of KillDisk, attacks your data and asks you to pay, well, a king’s ransom to save your files. (In the case of KillDisk, even paying the ransom can’t save you if you’re running Linux.)

Keep your system updated – As I’ve written before, keeping your system updated will ensure that any security holes stay patched. Depending on the software you have installed, updates may be available daily. I recommend running an update at least once every two weeks.

If for some reason you’d prefer to keep the current versions of your software, you should still update your kernel at minimum.

Don’t trust strange networks – Next time you go to a college campus or coffee shop, take a look around. You’ll probably see a collection of shiny, relatively new laptops, with people busily clicking, typing, and swiping away. It’s a jackpot for thieves, but not the kind you might imagine. Continue reading

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