How necessary is anti-virus protection for Linux Cinnamon?

marknmt

That's the whole question! I'm using ClamAV but wonder whether we really need it.


Thanks.

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azinoh

The answer(s) depend on ...why you think you need it...whether or not you are sharing (Windows) files with other Windows users...whether or not you are in the habit of clicking on links from unknown senders...whether or not you click on every ad you see and what you choose to download from untrusted web sites. What is the harm in keeping it?

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Richard (Vero Beach, Florida)

I installed ClamAV when I first started using Linux. Mostly out of curiosity. I no longer bother.

Any Windows files I have on my Windows drives is scanned in Windows anytime I boot into Windows.


Just let your Update Manager do it's job and you'll be fine.

That's not to say you can't still install an adware type toolbar/extension in your browser but that's not something ClamAV will catch.


From: https://www.quora.com/Why-are-Linux-systems-assumed-to-be-virus-free

============================================

It's impossible to say "virus-free", because any computer can technically get them.

Linux is "virus-free" for a few reasons though:

  • It's hard to make a Linux virus that actually does anything. Linux's
    security is set up so that, unless you give the virus permission to do
    stuff, it can't
  • Not many people create viruses for Linux, and there are a few reasons why. #1, Linux isn't used very much for desktop use. It is used primarily as a server. In fact, most of the worlds servers run Linux. Most virus authors are either script kiddies who have
    no idea that Linux exists, or they are smart enough to know that Linux sysadmins know enough to not let viruses be a problem. So there aren't many people creating viruses for Linux.
  • Linux is open-source. At first this seems like a bad thing, because anyone can see the security bugs in the kernel, and exploit them. However, this is counteracted by the fact that anyone can see the bugs. This includes the people who fix the bugs. Because it's open source, there are a lot more people looking for, and fixing, bugs in the code. So as soon as a bug is spotted, it gets fixed (most of the time). With Windows, the code is closed. So only the small team of developers sees it, and not even all of the developers see all of the code. A bug can lurk around for years before anyone realizes it's there or realizes how to fix it.

==================================================

More reading:

https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=277817

https://www.quora.com/How-many-Linux-users-use-antivirus-software


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marknmt

Most of my computer stuff is browsing (Firefox), email, and LibreOffice stuff, plus saving photographs, and I just got tired of the habit Windows has of constantly trying to plug me into deals to monetize me. So when I cloned my old drive over to an ssd and ended up with a spare drive I decided to put Linux on the spare. That took about an afternoon, and when I got it done I started playing around with Linux and haven't bothered to go back to my new ssd drive -Linux on the old drive is that fast! But now I'm intending to replace everything on my new ssd with everything on my old, now Linux machine, that made any sense.


I'm not a gamer, don't have video editing to do or anything like that, and certainly I'm not going to be getting into coding. It's actually all I can manage to do what I've done so far, and I spent a ton of time trying to do that (mostly had trouble getting the computer to let me boot from anything except the Windows C drive).


Anyhow, thanks for all the help. We'll see how I manage this next attempt ...

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Richard (Vero Beach, Florida)

"tired of the habit Windows has of constantly trying to plug me into deals to monetize me"

I don't use Windows enough to know for sure what you mean but maybe you mean those "Modern Apps"?

Maybe that's why they're willing to give it away for free?


The last computer I bought came with Windows 10. The first thing I did was go though the menu, turn off the annoying (to me) live tiles.

Then I removed whatever I wasn't interested in that I could. Some by just removing from "Start". Others by uninstalling (right-click and read). The others that offered no easy way of uninstalling, I used PowerShell to remove. (I think CCleaner now offers a way to uninstall them?)


" ... I'm intending to replace everything on my new ssd with everything on my old, now Linux machine ... "

That should work the same as the first time. Or easier since you've done it before. If you haven't, you may want to create a boot-able version of your cloning software.

If Linux is fast on the older spin drive, it will be even faster on the ssd. Especially booting.


" ... trouble getting the computer to let me boot from anything except the Windows C drive ... "


On my Acer F12 lets me select the boot device. You'll might want to go into BIOS/UEFI and change the boot order though. So you don't have to select it every time.


I just not long ago got around to getting a computer with UEFI instead of the older BIOS. I had a lot of trouble learning how to deal with it. I'm still not 100% confident using it. So... I keep images just in case.

And just in case I somehow mess up grub so badly it won't boot (I have): Super Grub2 Disk


Of course, if you blow away Windows, you won't have to worry about boot order.

I keep Windows as dual boot in case I want to use it. And I do use it, if for no other reason than to boot into and use Macrium Reflect to image my Linux drive. Gives me nice small images and it's quick.

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marknmt

It's a little hard to define the things that I felt Windows was doing to monetize me, and now that I don't have it up it's hard to come up with examples, except perhaps things like Amazon being on my toolbar automatically, purchasing decision showing up on the Windows key and such. And it wasn't just Microsoft; Google is doing their thing (such as trying to force you to shift from Firefox to Chrome, and making it hard to choose Firefox as your default browser unless you know how to edit the registry, which I don't. I suspect that one of the reasons Windows and Google were so slow is that they were busy roaming your system to look for ways to sell you something. And then they kept trying to get me to use Edge, which I would disable each time it came up but wouldn't let me uninstall (I haven't heard of PowerShell before. I'll check it out.


Both our computers have "Secure Boot", and I spent hours in UEFI trying to make it let me boot from the optical disk or usb. I finally got it to a point where the hard drive told me I didn't have an OS and gave me the option of installing one, so I plugged in Cinnamon.


I'll look into Super Grub2 and make sure I have it. If I keep playing around with this stuff I'm sure to shoot myself in the foot, probably on my wife's computer!


Thanks for your thoughts - much appreciated. :-)M

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bengz6westmd

I never bother w/AV or malware detection on linux. But then, because I've always disabled network/file sharing/remote connections & the way I browse the internet/check emails, I've fortunately never had a virus in Windows (tho occasionally got Windows malware/PUPS from installing "free" programs). Linux is excellent in that regard too because I get additional/updated programs from a secure linux repository.


Edit: Markmnt, to add, from alittle I've read, some UEFI machines have a "disable secure boot" in their options, and that is a way to help enabling multiple OS booting from the same drive.

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marknmt

Thanks for the virus information.


I need to ask this about UEFI and secure boot. Is the secure boot something that is completely independent of the OS, or does it go away when I switch to Linux? I'm assuming that it's built into the HD firmware and that makes it independent of the OS, but I don't know.


If it's dependent on the OS then it shoud be easier to do a boot on Linux.


Thanks again.

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bengz6westmd

marknmt, I think it's the machine itself, and then if windows is factory-installed (like a commercial-supplied HP/Dell, etc machine), and subsequently secure boot is enabled, then windows will be the only allowable boot from the hard-drive (or perhaps any device). Suggest you do a search, tho, because I don't have experience -- my machine (Win10 Pro & Puppy linux) still has the old legacy BIOS & multi-booting was simple to install w/grub4dos.

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Elmer J Fudd

"It's a little hard to define the things that I felt Windows was doing to monetize me"

Yeah, maybe it's because there aren't any. Paid installs, advertising, and offers referred to as "bloatware" come from the manufacturer/retailer, on both new PCs and smartphones. Everyone should know these need to be assessed and often removed with newly purchased devices.

If a vendor or an app installs something, that's not Microsoft. If there's something unwanted popping up or on a browser toolbar, remove it. Problem solved. Don't use a shotgun when looking for blame, you'll hit an innocent bystander.

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Richard (Vero Beach, Florida)

I don't understand secure boot well enough to answer.


I turned off Secure Boot when I first got this computer. I was trying to boot a USB clone of a tweaked installation from an older BIOS computer. I didn't understand UEFI and needed every advantage I could get.


I just now tried turning Secure Boot back on (in the UEFI boot BIOS screen). It still boots fine! I didn't think it would.

Both Linux and Windows. As well as a bootable clone I have on a USB device.

I haven't tried booting any other USB devices. Maybe it would fail to boot something older, pre-UEFI, pre-secure-boot?


Security-wise, it's nothing I need but since I turned it back on and it's working fine, I'll leave it on until I run into a problem.


Out of curiosity, I just Googled how does secure boot work?

One result: https://www.linuxjournal.com/content/take-control-your-pc-uefi-secure-boot

And another: https://uefi.org/sites/default/files/resources/UEFI_Secure_Boot_in_Modern_Computer_Security_Solutions_2013.pdf

I didn't read those links, just added them to my "later", "maybe someday" folder of links that I may never get around to reading. :-)

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bengz6westmd

Richard says: I haven't tried booting any other USB devices. Maybe it would fail to boot something older, pre-UEFI, pre-secure-boot?

Seems to make sense that secure boot, when enabled, would "secure" what is currently allowed to be installed.

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Richard (Vero Beach, Florida)

I agree, that would make sense.

I dug out an older flash drive with Acronis. It would boot with secure boot disabled but not with it enabled.

It threw a secure boot violation:


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marknmt

As it turned out for me this time the boot question was moot. After copying my user files to a zip stick I stuck my Cinnamon Mint download usb drive in the machine and pretty much let it take over. It formatted the drive and installed itself, and then I moved the user files and went through the customization for the desktop, downloaded a bunch of software, and re-established my passwords


So now that that is done I have two spin drives sitting around, plus I'll gain another when I switch my wife's computer over. So I guess I could use two of them for backup or storage, but I don't see that I really need them.


Anyhow, it looks like I'm getting through it. Thanks again for the help, suggestions, comments, and general good company! I'm sure I'll be back when I need more help ... :-)M

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