7 things even new Linux users can do to better secure the OS

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    It’s no secret that Linux is a much safer option than Windows. Linux is designed from the ground up to be highly secure. Since I started using Linux (back in 1997), he’s only had one cybersecurity threat, and that was a rootkit on a server I inherited. Sadly, that server was so badly compromised that I had to reinstall the OS and start over.

    This was the only time it had been affected by a security breach in decades. Other than that, it was smooth sailing.

    Also: The best VPN services (and how to choose the right one for you)

    You too can enjoy the enhanced security that comes with the Linux OS. However, you should not simply assume that once you install Linux, you no longer have to worry about security. My view on security is that if a device is connected to a network, it is vulnerable.

    That’s why I wanted to share some advice that even those new to Linux can easily follow. please do not worry. I don’t intend to edit init scripts or issue complex commands. iptables command, or installing software such as fail2ban. Instead, it shows everything new users can do to prevent malware, ransomware, or other attacks.

    If you are a Linux administrator, you may want to share this with your end users who use Linux as their daily driver operating system.

    With that said, let’s move on to the tips.

    1. Upgrade regularly

    This is the first piece of advice I give users, no matter what operating system they use, and I’m always amazed at how many people ignore it.

    Related article: 6 simple cybersecurity rules to follow

    As you know, upgrading is not just about adding new features. More important to these upgrades are security patches that address vulnerabilities. I check for (and apply) updates daily. These updates may be minor, but they may also include critical patches that fix common critical vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs).

    No matter which Linux distribution you choose, check for updates daily (at best) or weekly. Apply any available updates as soon as they appear, and (if the kernel has been upgraded) reboot once the process is complete.

    2. Do not install apps from unknown sources

    Similar to the advice I give to Android users, the safest method is to only install applications through the built-in package manager. Regardless of whether your system uses apt, dnf, snap, flatpak, pacman, or zypper, we highly recommend using only these methods to install apps.

    Related article: New encryption protocol aims to strengthen open source software security

    I know what you’re thinking. This leaves you with no world of applications to install. While that is true, we always recommend the “better safe than sorry” method when installing software.

    Sure, you might find an app you really want to install that isn’t in the standard repositories. If so, check to see if it’s available as a Snap or Flatpak package. In that case, please install it using one of the methods. Otherwise, if you seriously need the app, do a little research to see if the repository is trustworthy.

    It only takes one malicious app installation to compromise your system. With a little care, you can avoid problems like this.

    3. Use strong passwords

    It’s a desktop, not a server. right?That may be true, but it doesn’t mean you should keep using it password or 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 as a password. When setting user passwords, you should keep the following in mind:

    • network attack
    • prying eyes

    The most likely scenario for a desktop cybersecurity breach is someone logging into your computer and accessing your information. However, just because you have a desktop doesn’t mean it can’t be compromised by an attacker with access to your network.

    Related article: Best password managers

    Therefore, it is important to use strong and unique passwords. Note that this password is required not only to log in to the desktop, but also to perform upgrades, install apps, and handle other administrative tasks.

    4. Don’t use Chrome

    Most Linux distributions use the Firefox web browser or Chromium by default. Chrome is an open source operating system that’s easy to install (the most widely used web browser on the planet), but it’s also one of the least secure.

    Related article: How to use the Tor browser (and why you should)

    If you check our list of the most secure browsers of 2023, you’ll see that Chrome is nowhere to be found. That list includes Brave, Firefox, Tor, DuckDuckGo, and Mullvad. Of these browsers, we recommend Firefox or Tor for Linux.

    5. Enable the firewall

    It may come as a surprise, but some Linux distributions ship without a firewall enabled. For example, many Ubuntu-based distributions do not enable Uncomplicated Firewall out of the box. Additionally, most popular Ubuntu-based Linux distributions do not come with a firewall GUI.

    To avoid having to run a command (but enabling UFW from the command line is easy: enable sudo ufw), you can install the gufw GUI app (which you can install from your distribution’s app store). Once installed, you can enable the firewall by toggling the on/off slider to the on position.

    gufw window on Ubuntu Budgie.

    Gufw is one of the simplest firewall GUIs I’ve ever used.

    Jack Warren/ZDNET

    Enabling the firewall allows you to run commands (for example, allow ssh with sudo ufw).

    6. Do not log in as root.

    Ubuntu-based distributions disable the root account, but some distributions (such as Debian and Fedora) leave it enabled, allowing you to easily log in as the root user and not worry about sudo. You can perform the necessary operations without any trouble.

    Related article: Linux Security: What is sudo? Why is it so important?

    This is not good. Logging in as the root user opens a super privileged account. If someone breaks into your system, they too will have unrestricted access to all your services, apps, and all the data you store.

    Therefore, never log in as the root user. Until now.always use Sudo Use for administrative tasks to protect your system from being exposed to advanced attacks.

    7. Use full disk encryption

    If you have Linux installed on your machine and your distribution of choice offers full disk encryption (FDE), your best bet is to opt-in. Why? Simple. Suppose someone steals your laptop. Without full disk encryption, a drive could be removed and mounted on another machine (without having to crack the user’s password) and the data within it could be stolen.

    If FDE is enabled, any attempt by an attacker to remove and mount the drive will fail unless they know the encryption password. Of course, this is not a guarantee either. Remember the old saying, where there’s a will there’s a way. However, enabling FDE makes it significantly more difficult for someone to access your data without an encrypted password.


    You don’t have to be a system administrator to keep your Linux desktop distribution safe from cybersecurity threats. By following these tips, you can keep all the data on your machine safe from attack.


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