[CS-FSLUG] How could this be happening

Lincoln Fessenden l4c at thelinuxlink.net
Tue May 11 18:49:38 CDT 2010

On 5/11/10 7:05 PM, David McGlone wrote:
> Hi all, About a year ago I installed Kubuntu on my sisters computer. Today she
> sent me this.....
> <quote>"Hi David,
> I'm having issues with Linux...I think I have a virus...
> I have received 3 notices from Roadrunner in the past 3 months telling me spam
> is being sent from my email address. I was told since I don't use a wireless
> router that it was from a virus. The first time it happened I assumed it came
> from Windows, so I downloaded a free virus protection and it did find things
> and got rid of them. However, I have received another notice today...I don't
> use Windows often, and I don't have a virus there. The Roadrunner tech said I
> can get a virus on Linux, which I didn't think I could. If this keeps
> happening they will discontinue my service. I tried to download a free virus
> protection for Linux from the same place I got my one for Windows, but I can't
> figure out how to run it so I deleted it...
> I like Linux, however, I have decided I would rather uninstall it and just
> stick with Windows. I have never had this problem with my ISP until I started
> using Linux! The only thing I do on Linux is email and internet. Anytime I
> type something or print something I have to use Windows. I downloaded Firefox
> in Windows because I like it better than Internet Explorer.
> So, can you give me step-by-step instructions to uninstall Linux so I don't
> have this problem anymore. It's becoming more of a headache than it's
> worth!!"</quote>
> Anyone got any ideas?

First, tell her not to worry, she most likely does not have a virus on 
Linux.  The first indication is that Ubuntu does *not* install a mail 
server by default.  That means that unless you installed one for some 
reason, the likelihood of the spam actually coming from her computer 
while running linux is quite low.  She also does not have to worry about 
any linux mail client or browser being able to execute any malicious 
active-x code, etc..

Now, that being said, she may indeed have one on windows that her 
antivirus program does not detect, or perhaps a trojan.  Windows 
frequently suffers from both of these and refuses to report on them 
until they have a documented and tested fix available.  In fact, quite 
recently a virus scanning software vendor released malicious code in one 
of their own updates.

Windows also suffers from the afore mentioned issues with arbitrarily 
executable code run in web browsers and mail clients, not to mention 
email address harvesting and spam sent with spoofed email "from" addresses.

I am sure that a clean windows install and a bit of security tootlage 
would clear her problems up, or perhaps just get her to give up her 
Windows install altogether.  Update her Kubuntu install and make sure 
she knows how to get into OpenOffice and that her printer works under 
linux.  Have her stay out of Windows and she'll find that she doesn't 
have any further issues.  Warn her that if, indeed, as we all suspect, 
that her Windows install it at fault, her switching to windows full-time 
will only ensure that her virus problems get worse and fast.

-Linc Fessenden

In the Beginning there was nothing, which exploded - Yeah right...

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