Is Linux a security risk in Windows 10?

Also in today's open source roundup: Ars Technica reviews Linux Mint 18, and how to upgrade to Linux Mint 18

Is Linux a security risk in Windows 10?
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Is Linux a security risk in Windows 10?

The inclusion of Linux in Windows 10 has certainly gotten lots of attention in the media, but now some sites are speculating that Linux could be a security risk in Windows 10.

Is Linux a real security risk to Windows 10, or is this simply an attack designed to blame Linux for the security shortcomings of Windows 10?

Bogdan Papa reports for Softpedia:

One of the big changes implemented in Windows 10 Anniversary Update is the addition of a Linux subsystem that basically allows users to run Linux applications on top of Microsoft’s own Windows 10 operating system.

And while this implementation comes in super handy to developers, the Linux subsystem creates additional risks for Windows 10 computers, according to Alex Ionescu, chief architect at security company Crowdstrike.

In an attempt to improve the performance of the Linux subsystem on Windows 10, Microsoft offered direct access to raw hardware, so Linux applications aren’t launched in a Hyper-V container that could help isolate processes and any threats that might be associated with it, the expert explains, according to eWeek.

And because of this, Linux has full system access, and this is a double-edged sword that could easily backfire in case a hacker manages to inject malicious code into a Linux application. Furthermore, Linux apps have access to the same files and folders as their Windows siblings, so it’s not difficult to see where this could be going in case of a successful attack.

More at Softpedia

Ars Technica reviews Linux Mint 18

Linux Mint 18 has been out for a while now, but the reviews are still coming in. The latest review of Linux Mint 18 comes from Ars Technica, which found that Linux “just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Scott Gilbertson reports for Ars Technica:

The newly released Mint 18 is a major upgrade. Not only has the Linux Mint project improved Mint’s dueling desktops (Cinnamon and MATE), but the group’s latest work impacts all underlying systems. With Mint 18, Linux Mint has finally moved its base software system from Ubuntu 14.04 to the new Ubuntu 16.04.

I tested Mint 18 on the Dell XPS 13 that I reviewed last month on Ars and found it to be a snappy desktop, considerably less resource hungry than the default Unity that shipped with the Dell. Cinnamon is the flashier of Mint’s desktop options and uses a bit more memory (about 450MB with nothing running but the default startup apps), but it’s still quite a bit less than Ubuntu 16.04 (about 650 MB with nothing running but the default startup app). In fact, of what I would call the four heavyweight Linux desktops—GNOME 3, Unity, KDE, and Cinnamon—Cinnamon is the least resource intensive.

Linux Mint 18 is a solid update and continues the slow but steady evolution of one of the most popular Linux desktops out there. If you’re an existing Mint user, it’s definitely worth upgrading, though do bear in mind that this upgrade may be a bit more difficult compared to the very simple upgrade process for 17.x updates. As of this writing, Linux Mint has not published its usual upgrade guide, and I installed a clean copy, so I can’t comment on the upgrade process.

Mint 18 remains my recommendation both for anyone who’s new to Linux as well as seasoned Linux users who want a desktop that just works and gets out of the way. Thanks to its incremental development approach, its dedication to evolving features slowly, and its development of power user features and configuration options, Mint manages to serve both newcomers and Linux power users well.

More at Ars Technica

How to upgrade to Linux Mint 18

Speaking of Linux Mint 18, one of its developers posted a tutorial a few weeks ago that explains how to do an upgrade. It could be quite useful if you are running an earlier version of Linux Mint.

Clem reports for the Linux Mint site:

This tutorial explains how to upgrade to Linux Mint 18.

Linux Mint 13 will be supported until 2017. Linux Mint 17, 17.1, 17.2 and 17.3 will be supported until 2019.

If your version of Linux Mint is still supported, and you are happy with your current system, then you don’t need to upgrade.

Each new version of Linux Mint comes with a new kernel. This means that it handles hardware differently. For instance, you may find out that a graphic card or a wireless adapter which currently works fine for you under Linux Mint, isn’t recognized by the newer version of Linux Mint you’re planning to upgrade to. In some cases, this could mean that upgrading to this release is the wrong decision, maybe you’re better off skipping that particular release? There’s only one way to know: you need to try it.

Linux Mint comes as an ISO image which can be burnt to a DVD or a USB stick. Thanks to this, you can try the newer release on your computer and see if your hardware is recognized without installing and before upgrading.

More at Linux Mint

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