[svlug] Virus FUD

dfox@belvdere.vip.best.com dfox at belvdere.vip.best.com
Sun May 7 09:33:11 PDT 2000


> If a similar worm was written to attack a Linux system, could a malicious Perl
> (say) program do the same damage to that system?
> 
> I suspect the answer is "no", but I'd like to hear from more knowledgable folks.

Well, if it were run as root, probably it could do similar damage. It
probably could even replicate itself as the Love Bug and similar
viruses have done in the past.

Most of these email viruses use Outlook because it's popular, but more
importantly the Outlook users tend to keep track of all their contacts
in a common address book. Other GUI style mailers on Linux could be
easy targets if the users use them similarly, since the virus replicates
itself by sending itself automatically to email addresses listed in a
common database. Personally, I'm not sure if most Linux users use 
email similarly to Windows users -- as far as keeping all their contacts
(personally I don't). Even so, it could find addresses in other ways, as
spammers do, grepping /var/spool/news on news servers for instance.

The key thing is that it couldn't do anything unless it were given the
permission to do so.

> Kenneth R. Kellum -- San Jose State University
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