linux spontaneously rebooting?

I have a dell optiplex gx150 and tried to install xubuntu and knoppix from the live cds. Have an atheros wifi pci card. Problem is once either system is installed and I try to update or upgrade the system thru synaptic, or even in other cases, the system reboots spontaneously. I though linux was safe from hackers. Could this be a hacker or possibly some sort of hardware problem unique to this computer?

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