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I was using Ubuntu, but after updating to 14.04 LTS the Unity Desktop did not perform particularly well. So after research, I switched to Xubuntu, a recognised version of Ubuntu running the Xfce desktop environment.

Do both of these distros actually have anti-virus and anti-malware etc. built in, plus the programmable firewall, or are they just so called 'resistant' to viruses, because of supposed lack of Ubuntu specific viruses.

I have looked through many articles on Ask Ubuntu as well as other blogs, and all they seem to do is contradict.

Please help! Any help is greatly appreciated!

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The 'contradiction' stems from individual opinion.

Since security, like nirvana, is a state that is not reachable with any combination of operating system and application on earth, individuals pick their security comfort zone individually. Hence the apparent contradiction.

People in the Linux department mostly think that viruses is something that happens to Windows only and applying antiviral measures to Linux itself would be pointless. Given the net effectiveness of viral protection that happens at the Windows camp, some even forward the opinion that the entire business model is shoddy, scare-ware or a scam in itself.

Please read the many articles you refer to and form your own opinion.

No, neither ubuntu nor xubuntu come with anti-virus or a firewall pre-installed. The makers believe that the system is as secure as it gets.

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Does Ubuntu have antivirus pre-installed?

No, and there are very few antivirus tools available for Linux distros most of which only scan for Windows viruses. The only security tool I'm aware of that supports scanning for Linux viruses is Eset Node32 Antivirus For Linux. That all said there are very few known viruses for Linux.

Notes:

  • OSX didn't used to get viruses either.

  • Just because viral code (eg a Windows virus) can't infect your system doesn't mean you want it stored on your hard drive, especially if you share files with friends/family, or dual boot with Windows.

How does Ubuntu defend itself From Viruses And Hackers?

Ubuntu relies on security updates, and permissions to protect itself. For example the important system files are owned by root to prevent anyone from changing them which is why you have to use sudo so often.

Notes:

  • Windows uses the same approach of permissions, but it often fails because people use Administrative accounts rather than user accounts. My point being that permissions on any operating system only work if the user demonstrates good practice. This means not giving root priviledges without thinking first, and never installing programs from sources you don't trust. The system isn't exposed unless a user exposes it.

Does Ubuntu have a firewall pre-installed?

Yes, IPTABLES partnered with UFW, but it doesn't come with any pre-setup rules so you're not protected.

Notes:

  • It's a good idea to disconnect from the network you get your internet from when you're not using it.

In summary an Ubuntu installation is as protected as a Windows installation, and the first thing you'd do on Windows is install a better firewall and antivirus, but on Ubuntu there aren't any comparable tools so you're hooped. Luckily Ubuntu is less targeted.

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To my knowledge no linux distributions including the Ubuntu family have Anti-Virus/Anti-Maul-ware software "built in". Ubuntu indeed has a firewall called IPtables installed but by default it's deactivated and many distributions do not come with a GUI to activate or configure it "built in". That is not to say either can not be installed.

Linux and desktop distributions of Ubuntu in particular are more "Resistant" to viruses due to the fact that the market share though growing is significantly smaller and the structure of Unix and Unix derived OSes (Linux, BSD, MacOS, ETC) make it harder to infect and gain system level access where they can do the most damage and propagate fastest. Web facing programs seem to be the overall soft spots, however the vast majority of these weaknesses seem to be in social engineering (Fooling you into doing or allowing something that is malicious.) and thus practically undetectable to any software currently known. Likewise linux does not open unneeded ports to the internet unlike Windows, so having a firewall for most cases is not deeded as the ports that are not in use are typically closed and locked to outside connections.

All this being said, the following pages will supply some good reading.

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