A Good Reason to Use GNU/Linux: Don't Pass it On


Here's some great news:

According to IBM's latest six-monthly trends and risks report, the number of phishing emails as a proportion of total spam fell in the first six months of this year to 0.1 per cent. In the same period last year the figure stood at between 0.2 and 0.8 per cent.

The German Bundeskriminalamt (equivalent to the British Criminal Investigation Department (CID)) has come to a similar conclusion. Only 10 per cent of online banking fraud can now be traced back to fake banking websites.

That's not only good news for everyone, it's particularly good news for those using GNU/Linux; why? Because:

criminals are increasingly making use of trojans to obtain login and other online banking data directly from PCs. The trojans frequently penetrate systems via security vulnerabilities in browsers. Attackers are, however, also increasingly exploiting vulnerabilities in the way crafted PDF files are processed. In its report, IBM confirms the figures published by F-Secure, showing that the number of vulnerabilities in programs for processing PDF files has overtaken that in programs for office files.

Now, you might point out that free software like Firefox is also vulnerable, and that's true. But think a minute about how these attacks work. Malware authors use vulnerabilities in Firefox or PDF programs to download malicious programs on to your PC. But guess what?

Those programs are almost certainly designed for Windows, the dominant desktop platform. So even if Firefox or your free PDF reader has vulnerabilities that are exploited to download malware, the latter almost certainly won't be able to run.

So, those of us who choose GNU/Linux as our desktop platform need worry less than those who adopt Windows. Just don't tell too many people, or they might start switching to the safer platform, in which case Windows' market share will go down, and people will start coding more malware for GNU/Linux....

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

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