Malicious attacks against computers are on the rise. Although fewer viruses have been written to attack GNU/Linux systems than Windows systems, GNU/Linux viruses do exist. Furthermore, the amount of other types of malware that can infect a computer running Linux — as well as the sheer number of attacks — are growing. Recently Wirenet.1 attacked computers running Linux and Mac OS X. The malware stole passwords and other information stored in the computer's Internet browser, email client, and instant messaging tool.
Platform-independent environments such as OpenOffice.org, Perl, and Mozilla Firefox are not exempt. For example, Dropper.MsPMs, a malicious Java archive (JAR) file, was found on machines running Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Some malware packages are written specifically for GNU/Linux. A rootkit— a collection of tools that let an attacker gain access to the root (administrator) account on your computer — are part of the same software family as Trojan horses. These malware packages go by different names such as tOrn and ARK.