Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Security, the experts like to tell us, is a process, not a product.
With open source that can be a very good thing since when security problems are found they can be fixed quickly. That's the case over this last weekend, Feb. 9-10, when a security problem was found, and given a hot fix, in the 2.6.17 to the most recent production Linux kernel, 22.214.171.124.
The problem's exploit was first shown on the security site Milw0rm. The specific trouble is with the kernel system call sys_vmsplice. There is no perfect patch for the problem at this time. There is, however, a hot fix, which prevents if from being exploited in at least some systems.
There has been a set of stable kernel releases (126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, and 184.108.40.206), all of which fix the recently disclosed splice() security hole. This vulnerability is an easy root exploit on any of the affected systems (almost every kernel from 2.6.17 on), so applying the fix would be a good thing to do.