Security Portal: UNIX (and Linux especially) viruses - the real storyMar 08, 2000, 07:06 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kurt Seifried)
"There's been a lot of fooferaw about UNIX viruses recently, and more specifically Linux viruses. A lot of it is complete garbage. Many of these articles seem to have gotten a hold of virus experts, which is good, but it seems these virus experts generally have little knowledge of UNIX, which isn't surprising as most viruses and anti-virus software is written for Windows (only in the last year or two have many anti-virus vendors ported their products to UNIX platforms). First of all let's define the problem, and some of the more important terms, since some of the articles I have seen seem to mix things in strange ways. A virus is a piece of software that can infect data and applications, often replicating itself, it may or may not be harmless (intentionally or otherwise). For example some viruses append themselves to executable files, and these files can be later spread when users share files. Other viruses (like the Melissa virus) would simply rifle the contents of your email address book, and then send itself to all the people listed in it, severely overloading mail servers in the process."