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The Downside of Linux Popularity


Popularity is becoming a two-edged sword for Linux.

The open source operating system has become a key component of the Internet’s infrastructure, and it’s also the foundation for the world’s largest mobile OS, Google’s Android.

Widespread use of the OS, though, has attracted the attention of hackers looking to transfer the dirty tricks previously aimed at Windows to Linux.

Last year, for example, ransomware purveyors targeted Linux. Granted, it wasn’t a very virulent strain of ransomware, but more potent versions likely will be on the way.

Meanwhile, 2016 was less than 3 weeks old when researchers discovered in the Linux kernel a bug that an attacker could exploit to take control of computers running the operating system as well as millions of Android devices.

Tempting Target

Vulnerabilities in Windows receive a lot of attention when they’re discovered, noted Russ Ernst, director of product management for vulnerability management products at Heat Software.

“Windows gets all the attention because of its market share, but three-quarters of the vulnerabilities out there are on Linux and Mac machines,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Both Linux and Apple’s OS X operating systems have connections to Unix, which was developed by AT&T.

While Windows has become the dominant operating system on the desktop, Linux has…

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