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Linux Viruses and Such
(More sermon:) Competent system maintenance:
Do use your packaging and maintenance regime. Avoid the tarball shtick absent a very compelling reason, and then realise you're assuming all the responsibilities of a packager. Also, install within /usr/local or /opt; avoid root authority if possible.
Don't use obsolete and/or unmaintained software, e.g., BIND8.
Don't use outright bad software, e.g., wu-ftpd.
Do check your mime.types, mailcap, or equivalent.
Do try to have some idea which code is more security-sensitive.
Do know that you're responsible for whatever you run with whatever authority you wield in so doing.