The name "Linux" actually refers to the kernel of the operating system. reports that there have been (so far) nearly 800 Linux distributions, or distros, since 2001. Some are commercial products, though the vast majority are developed and maintained by the open source community. Many no longer exist. Because there are wide variations in distribution features, there are also wide variations in vulnerabilities between the products. Many vulnerabilities are introduced because of services and applications that are added to the core installation.

Linux vulnerabilities fall into the same major categories that are found in Windows. The following list shows the top vulnerabilities in order of descending frequency:

  • DoS
  • Information disclosure
  • Buffer or heap overflows
  • Privilege escalation
  • Remote code execution
  • Memory corruption
  • Security feature bypass
  • Directory traversal

Note: Data obtained from