Is Linux Immune to Viruses?

The simple answer to this question is “no”. Why?

Any computer that is attached to a network is not immune to viruses however, if you were to compare the vulnerability of Linux to Windows, we can say Linux is more secure.

Malware or Virus is unwanted code that somehow made its way onto your computer in order to perform functions designed with malicious intent. Sometimes these programs slow down your machine or cause it to crash entirely. The creators may then demand a ransom fee in order to fix your machine.

Computer viruses can be transmitted in many ways however the most common are:

  • Email attachments.
  • Malicious URLs.
  • Within applications (such as browser add-ons).

Viruses can easily infect a windows Desktop however a Linux Desktop is slightly more secure. Malware does exist in a Linux Desktop however it’s very rare. The one piece of malware that has recently made the news for targeting the Linux desktop is EvilGNOME which runs on the GNOME desktop environment by pretending to be an extension.

GNOME is the most common Linux desktop environment found as the default interface on two of the most popular Linux distros, Ubuntu and Fedora.

The malware known as EvilGNOME can take screenshots, record audio from your PC’s microphone and upload your personal files. There is a far more detailed breakdown available in a report published by Intezer Labs, who gave EvilGNOME its name.

This malware didn’t attract attention for being particularly likely to impact large numbers of people, instead It was considered newsworthy because it actually existed at all.

Linux is relatively rare on desktops however it’s the most prominent operating system found on servers powering the web and managing much of the world’s digital infrastructure.

Many attacks target websites rather than PCs. Hackers often look for vulnerabilities in network daemons that they can use to gain access to Linux-powered servers. Some will install a malicious script on a server that then targets visitors rather than the system itself.


One of the reasons people switch to Linux is to experience better security. When users switch to Linux, they often think they no longer need to worry about viruses and other types of malware. Whilst this is largely true in practice the Linux desktop isn’t completely secure however when compared to windows, Linux is the far securer option.

Malware can infect a Linux based desktop however it’s far more commonly found in a Linux based server as many attacks target websites rather than PCs.

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