There is a general perception that using Linux systems is somehow inherently safer than using macOS or Windows because of its technical nature and the fact that Linux is mostly used by computer programmers and coders.
But the fact is that Linux, just like every other OS, is as safe as you make it. Unfortunately, that means that it is just as vulnerable to malware, viruses, and cyber attacks as Windows and macOS and you can only make it secure by using tools like VPNs for Linux, anti-virus software, and such.
Linux is quite often the OS being used as a delivery mechanism for such malware and viruses. Distros like Kali Linux are the preferred choice for hackers and cybersecurity professionals because they are specially designed for such use.
As such, you should ensure that if you are using Linux, you secure your system just as you would secure your Windows or macOS system. This blog will focus on Linux systems and how they’re often neglected for security.
Linux Systems & Why They Should Be Secured
Let’s take a look at the general nature of malware delivery mechanisms before diving into Linux-based cyberattacks.
● Malware Delivery Mechanisms
Malware delivery mechanisms are a complex topic. But let’s try to simplify it. In cybersecurity, threat actors are those that intend to harm the organization or company. When these threat actors sniff out a weakness in the system that they can exploit, the first thing they do is introduce malware to the system.
Third comes Linux-based systems. But just because Linux-based malware delivery mechanisms are third on this list doesn’t mean that they’re uncommon. Linux-based malware delivery mechanisms have seen a rise lately due to various factors.
Another growing mechanism is LNK, which are Windows shortcut files but, in this case, malicious. So, what is the purpose of this malware? It can help the threat actor access the organization’s servers remotely, gather sensitive information, track data input, and further spread malware throughout the compromised system. In many cases, DDoS attacks can be launched through malware.
● Linux Doesn’t Lag Behind
As mentioned, just because Linux isn’t at the top of the list doesn’t mean it’s not making an impact. Linux-based attacks are mainly targeted at cryptocurrency and people involved in crypto mining. Linux’s versatile nature allows a target threat actor to not only set up an attack but also automate it and even continue an attack to further exploit any vulnerabilities.
One of the most popular Linux-based malware is Mirai, which is classed as a botnet malware that turns devices running Linux into remotely controlled bots which the threat actor can then use to their advantage to further exploit the system. Mirai was developed in 2016 and has since grown and developed into a more dangerous form.
Other Linux-based malware includes BitCoin Miner, which works as a trojan horse that infects devices and forcefully reallocates computer hardware and software resources to mine BitCoin in the background, slowing down your device. The bigger and more powerful the system is, the more its speed and resources will be affected.
● Don’t Underestimate Linux
Linux-based malware attacks aren’t uncommon, and they certainly aren’t going to stop. The world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology might make Linux one of the front-runners in this race.
This might sound scary, but if you take all the precautions, then it is highly unlikely that you will encounter a scenario where you have to deal with malware on your device. Even if you were to find malware, quarantining your device and handing it over to your security operations center (SOC) team will be the best choice.
It should be kept in mind that detecting such malware might be hard to do in the first place since threat actors specialize in developing malware that evades detection, which is why prevention is the best practice.
Linux-based systems are quite capable of causing trouble in the wrong hands. And they are just as capable of being hacked or otherwise compromised if they aren’t protected properly.
Not only are they rising in popularity as a delivery mechanism, but the average user is getting smarter and realizing the advantages of Linux more and more. Your Linux system is capable of much more than you might think.