Linux Ransomware: How Vulnerable Are You?


Keith Ward
December 2, 2022

Linux Ransomware: How Vulnerable Are You?

Many admins wonder how susceptible Linux is to the scourge of ransomware. There’s a general belief—which is correct—that Linux is more secure by default than Windows. That leads to the incorrect belief among some that Linux systems are mostly invulnerable to ransomware. In fact, Linux ransomware is real, it's very dangerous, and it’s growing.

We’ve published a lot of content on about Linux, so it makes sense to provide a roundup of key Linux articles. It serves as a sort of clearinghouse of Linux information as it relates to ransomware, helping you be more aware of where you’re at risk, how great the risk is, and trends among the ransomware actors targeting Linux industry-wide.

In “Ransomware Targets: Windows vs. Linux,” author James Panetti goes over the two most popular OSes on the market, and points out that although Microsoft Windows maintains its stranglehold on the desktop, Linux is extremely popular in the data center, making it a juicy target.

This article, “Ransomware: What Are Linux Users Up Against?,” discusses the reasons Linux is open to ransomware attacks. The author, Cary Kostka, also details the three major ransomware variants that specially target Linux.

As a follow-up to that article, Kosta writes about how “Ransomware Actors Are Finding New Ways To Target Linux.” Things like code diversity and virtualization dependencies are becoming prominent as new attack vectors, and admins need to pay attention.

Brad Rudisail, in his article “Does Ransomware Affect Linux?”, provides this nugget of information on why Linux is a favorite target of the Bad Guys: “… Linux is used by 37.5% of all known websites in the world, and 96% of the top 1 million web servers operating systems are Linux based.”

An important article that’s highly relevant today is “Geopolitics Sparking a Rise in Linux-Based Attacks.” This piece by Cary Kostka looks at how nations are getting involved in ransomware, either as a haven for attackers or defenders against attacks. It includes coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how it led to a surge in ransomware attacks.

Finally, this article by Brad Rudisail, “4 Tips to Lock Down Linux Against Ransomware,” is full of practical advice on how to protect your Linux systems from ransomware attacks. It’s a must-read to learn ways to keep the criminals out of your network.

All this information adds up to one conclusion: if you have Linux systems in your organization—and chances are that you do—they are vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Take proactive steps right away to spot the dangers, and close down those holes ASAP.

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