I know others have asked this, but I have other questions related to this. In particular, I'm concerned about the damage that the virus can do the user itself (his files), not the OS in general nor other users of the same machine. This question came to my mind because of that ransomware virus that is encrypting machines all over the world, and then asking the user to send a payment in Bitcoin if he wants to recover his files. I have already received and opened the email that is supposed to contain the virus, so I guess I didn't do that bad because nothing happened.
But would I have survived if I opened the attachment and it was aimed at Linux users? I guess not.
One of the advantages is that files are not executable by default right after downloading them. Is that just a bad default in Windows and could be fixed with a proper configuration?
As a Linux user, I thought my machine was pretty secure by default, and I was even told that I shouldn't bother installing an antivirus. But I have read some people saying that the most important (or only?) difference is that Linux is just less popular, so almost no one writes viruses for it. Is that right?
What else can I do to be safe from this kind of ransomware virus? Not automatically executing random files from unknown sources seems to be more than enough, but is it? I can't think of many other things a user can do to protect his own files (not the OS, not other users), because he has full permissions on them.