Researcher behind Linux Kernel flaw explains motives

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When a vulnerability researcher discloses a flaw in a widely-used operating system or application, some IT professionals question the motive. Such has been the case with a Linux Kernel flaw that was disclosed last week. Wojciech Purczynski, a researcher with Singapore-based security firm COSEINC, discovered the flaw, and a researcher using the online name "Qaaz" followed it up with attack code. Qaaz declined an interview request, but Purczynski did answer some questions in an email exchange. In this Q&A, he explains how he reported the security hole and why Linux users should take his findings seriously.

Describe the sequence of events.

Purczynski: I was quite busy doing some other tasks here at COSEINC so I had to postpone publication of the vulnerability. But on Feb. 1 I made initial contact with The Red Hat Security Response Team, then we contacted with kernel developers so they could provide a quick fix for this vulnerability.

Explain the severity of the vulnerability and why, since it involves the kernel, IT administrators in Linux-based environments should be concerned.

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