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Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

Another myth busted! Linux is not more resistant to infection than Windows.
I've just received the email about the MessageLabs Intelligence Security Report for April 2010 which contains the following:
Quote
Also in April, MessageLabs Intelligence analyzed passive fingerprinting signatures of spam email traffic to learn the types of operating systems that were running on the infected spam-sending computers. Many of the computers used Windows and the percentage of spam was similar to the Windows share of the operating system market. In comparison, Linux machines, with only a 1 percent market share were responsible for 5.1 percent of all spam.

Press release: http://www.messagelabs.co.uk/resources/press/49913
Full report: http://www.messagelabs.co.uk/mlireport/MLI_2010_04_Apr_FINAL_EN.pdf
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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7 REPLIES
KenA
Grafter
Posts: 92
Registered: ‎28-08-2007

Re: Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

Hello jelv,
I disagree with your first statement.  The Messagelabs report looked at the source of the spam.  It simply suggests that 5% of those people who send the spam in the first place were using linux systems.  This does not come as a surprise as hacker-types are more likely to use linux than the general population, and especially in many of the countries from which spam originates.
The report does not make any statement that linux systems which receive spam are more likely to succumb than Windows or other operating systems.
VileReynard
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Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

If you want an efficient message server, then you run Linux.  Smiley

Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

Exactly. This is talking about the source of spam, not the effect it has. Linux runs most of the world's web and mail servers, so some of the apparent increase may simply be due to Linux boxes passing through malware from other sources.  Spam is by definition, not malware, but just unsolicited email, so the recipient's operating system is irrelevant. Malware is different in that it tries to install something nasty on the recipients PC, either directly or by convincing the user to click a web link.
Linux is inherently more secure than most windows PCs because the default user account does not have write access to system files and cannot install software without a password. Windows Vista and 7 are starting to catch up by offering UAC, but there are ways in which malware can give itself elevated privileges to bypass UAC.
There si vast amounts of malware in existence for Windows. Malware written for Windows will have no effect on a Linux box. There is no Linux malware known to be circulating. Therefore Linux is safer than Windows.
David_W
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Registered: ‎19-07-2007

Re: Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

Having read it, it appears to suggest that compromised Linux systems are sending a lot of spam, it could be down to simple misconfiguration of system files though rather than anything bad like an infection by malware, for instance, someone running Apache with sendmail or whatever left open, or indeed, Apache driven websites foisting malware (it doesn't specify the type of system, it's basically impossible to know if a Linux machine is a home or webserver).
I put Ubuntu on my laptop for my sister simply because she will click any link in an email, she did recently but Kaspersky said "hey now, NO!", with Linux running she can click whatever she wants and I don't have to worry about getting my laptop back infected with more STD's than a politicians birthday party.
MrC
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Re: Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

Quote from: jelv
Another myth busted! Linux is not more resistant to infection than Windows.

Sorry, but your cite neither says or infers that Smiley
As others have said the Linux system sending spam is more likely to have been specifically designed to do just that as it's primary task. Another option is that the Linux system is a large server running a number of Windows VMs such as found in any number of hosting companies.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,746
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

Quote from: MrC
Quote from: jelv
Another myth busted! Linux is not more resistant to infection than Windows.

Sorry, but your cite neither says or infers that Smiley

Maybe, but it succeeded in it's primary objective of winding a few people up!
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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Waldo
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Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Linux Takes a Share of Spam from Windows

My, my, Chit Chat on usergroup.plus.net must've been a right riveting read today, John  Roll eyes Grin