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Security: Updates, Drama and FUD

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  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (dino-im, python2.7, python3.4, and wpa), Fedora (kmplayer), openSUSE (podman and samba), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (thunderbird), Slackware (expat), SUSE (curl), and Ubuntu (apache2).

  • This New Linux Malware Mines Crypto By Creating Malign Linux Modules

    As per the research, the new Linux malware mines crypto by creating malicious loadable kernel modules (LKM) to stay under the wraps. As the malware utilizes Linux kernel module rootkits, it becomes difficult to detect and patch it. This is because of its overwriting and modification of kernel parts capabilities.

  • A Critical Exim Vulnerability, Lilocked Ransomware on the Rise, but Linux Not to Blame

    In the context of these recent vulnerabilities and exploits, it is easy to label Linux and Open Source as “vulnerable” or “insecure”. However, doing so is unfair as well as incorrect. Unlike Windows and MacOS, Linux is a multi-user environment (a characteristic that the OS inherited from Unix) where users are granted specific privileges. This design prevents the compromise of one user account from impacting an entire system. In order to gain control over a Linux system, malware would have to gain root access to the system.

    Vulnerabilities exist in every system, and in terms of security vulnerabilities, Linux has a relatively clean record when compared to other popular operating systems. In the words of Linux creator Linus Torvalds, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”. Because of the intense review that Linux is continuously undergoing from security experts in the Open Source community, vulnerabilities are quickly identified and fixed. Because of this, as well as the way in which Linux manages privileges, relatively few viruses and worms are written to attack Linux systems. In comparison, proprietary operating systems like Microsoft Windows are easy targets for malicious coders, making them frequent victims of malware and viruses. This year, a total of 700 vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows were disclosed, 189 of which were classified as critical.

    Exim, however, is a notoriously insecure mail server. In spite of this, it has a market share of over 57 percent, due to the fact that the MTA has been bundled with many Linux distros, including Debian and Red Hat. Thus, the frequent security bugs and exploits involving Exim affect a large number of Linux users, but are not a reflection of the inherent security of the Linux OS.

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