Not all computer systems run Windows. When setting up servers, in fact, many businesses use Linux. Originally released in 1991, Linux is an open-source operating system (OS) that’s powered by the Linux kernel. While it offers greater protection against viruses than other OSs, including Windows, it’s not necessarily immune to infection.

User Privileges

One of the reasons Linux is protected — albeit not immune — to viruses is because it offers user privileges backed into the OS. Linux features a multi-user environment. Each user is given a specific level of privileges. Therefore, hackers or other nefarious individuals who want to harm a Linux system must typically obtain the necessary privileges.

Prevents System-Wide Infections

System-wide infections are rare with Linux systems. This is because most infections involve specific users. As previously mentioned, users are given privileges. If a virus infects a user, only the files that the user can access will typically be affected. All other files will remain untouched.

Open-Source Nature

The open-source nature of Linux also protects it from viruses. Like most types of open-source software, Linux has a community of developers who are constantly working to optimize and improve it. It’s not a commercially sold or licensed OS. Rather, Linux is free and open source. And with its open-source nature, it’s constantly being updated. When vulnerabilities are discovered, developers will fix them.

Viruses Can Still Occur

With its user privileges, protection from system-wide infections and open-source nature, viruses are rare with Linux systems. Nonetheless, they can still occur. There have been dozens of Linux-specific viruses, some of which include Arches, Binon, Bliss, Brundle, RELx, Rike, WIt Virus and ZipWorn.

Viruses aren’t the only threat facing Linux systems, either. Linux systems can succumb to infection from other types of malware, including ransomware, trojans and worms.

Botnets are also a concern with Linux systems. A botnet is a group of compromised, hijacked systems. Hackers typically use them to execute distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against unsuspecting victims. If you have a Linux system, you should monitor it for signs of a botnet. In many cases, Linux systems are used as botnets unbeknownst to the operators of those systems.

In Conclusion

It’s a common myth that Linux systems are immune to viruses. While they do offer a higher level of protection against viruses than many other OSs, Linux systems can still succumb to infection. Viruses, as well as other forms of malware, can infect Linux systems.