Linux Ticker: Viruses on Unix systems

Many new users of Linux think that their system is in
contrast to DOS or Windows immune to viruses. Rado shows how Linux
and Unix systems in general are vulnerable to viruses, too. In fact
the first viruses infected Unix systems….

“Yes, just like any other OS, Linux may be infected, too. Like
Windows NT or MacOS. Not only PCs with DOS or Windows, or Amiga,
can host viral code. But then, why don`t we see more viruses on
Linux or Windows NT?”

“You might be surprised by the fact that some of the first
computer viruses were Unix viruses (probably the first one is Elk
Cloner, coded sometime between 1980 and 1982). Some early Unix
viruses were written by Fred Cohen on VAX running 4BSD, one year
after Elk Cloner appeared. Despite the usual belief, Unices are not
protected from viruses automatically. Of course, the logic of the
code is much different, so people who are used to think about
viruses that run on DOS or Windows (except for NT) usually do not
understand or underestimate the danger of Unix viruses.”