[quote=“patriciareed, post:20, topic:43418”]
the feeling I get with my computer (but who knows) is not so much that it has viruses (its always pure as the driven snow on scans) but that someone has obtained user and even administrator privileges through remote access and changes settings, among other things, at will. I am keenly aware that this is a statistically improbable scenario. however, lets say we just humor it and go with it as a thought experiment. would Linux solve this or prevent this if in fact this was the problem?
[/quote]One of the problems with Windoze is that by default you have administrative privileges . . . or at least that was the way it was with XP. (That was the last Windoze OS I used before I became a ‘nix kinda’ guy years ago.) Consequently, you had to actively set up a LUA (Limited User Account) and login as the LUA to avoid system wide changes being made by someone that penetrated the machine. If you log in as administrator, you’ve already given the administrator’s password, so system wide changes CAN be made by someone penetrating the machine WITHOUT knowing the password.
Conversely, someone KNOWING your administrator password can log in as administrator even if you’re using a LUA. That’s why it’s essential to have a STRONG password, preferably at least 8 characters, to include some symbols, and also upper case and lower case. For example: a8@gH!kL would be a strong password. (Password Managers help you deal with these things, which are next to impossible to memorize, but that’s a whole 'nother topic.)
VISTA started the UAC (“User Account Control”) whereby any system change had to be done via password. But it was pretty crude and bothersome, so my understanding is that a lot of people disabled that mechanism, and consequently shot themselves in the foot. I NEVER used VISTA though, so I don’t know for sure how it worked.
Windoze 7 and 8, which I have NOT used either, may have made that mechanism smoother, and as I understand it Windoze 8 is more like Linux.
In any case, if you’re using XP and logging in as administrator, you’re automatically giving ANYONE that penetrates your machine the privileges to change things.
Linux is just the opposite. By default, you are NOT the administrator (known as “sudo” in Linux . . . “Super User Do”). You have to actively manipulate the machine to become the “Super User” . . . and you rily don’t want to run all the time as “sudo” anyway.
So in answer to your question, YES, Linux will prevent the problem you are having as long as you DON’T run perpetually as the Super User (and the manipulation to do that is purposely difficult for a novice) . . . which is the default config anyway. When making any changes to the system, you MUST provide the sudo password.