Security vulnerabilities, like most things, go through a life cycle from discovery to installation of a fix on an affected system. Red Hat devotes many hours a day to combing through code, researching vulnerabilities, working with the community, and testing fixes–often before customers even know a problem exists.
There are many options available today for users looking at Linux distributions tailored for security research, and among them is BackBox Linux, which was updated to version 4.1 on Jan. 29. Backbox Linux 4.1 is based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support) distribution and uses the Xfce desktop environment. BackBox Linux is not intended to primarily be a user-focused privacy distribution, as is the case with Tails, but rather is more aligned with Pentoo, CAINE and Kali Linux, all of which focus on providing tools for security analysis. Though BackBox is not primarily a privacy distribution, it does have tools that enable security researchers to stay anonymous while conducting research. For example, a RAM wiping tool will erase the memory on the system that Backbox is running when the operating system shuts down. Plus, BackBox includes a command line interface wizard that provides users with options for enabling anonymous network traffic over Tor (The Onion Router), as well as masking a user's hostname. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the features in the BackBox Linux 4.1 release.
On November 11, 2014 Mozilla announced the Polaris Privacy Initiative. One key part of the initiative is us supporting the tor network by deploying tor middle relay nodes. On January 15, 2015 our first proof of concept (POC) went live.
Researchers at cloud security company Qualys have discovered a major security hole, GHOST (CVE-2015-0235), in the Linux GNU C Library (glbibc). This vulnerability enables hackers to remotely take control of systems without even knowing any system IDs or passwords.
Qualys alerted the major Linux distributors about the security hole quickly and most have now released patches for it. Josh Bressers, manager of the Red Hat product security team said in an interview that, "Red Hat got word of this about a week ago. Updates to fix GHOST on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5, 6, and 7 are now available via the Red Hat Network."
This hole exists in any Linux system that was built with glibc-2.2, which was released on November 10, 2000. Qualys found that the bug had actually been patched with a minor bug fix released on May 21, 2013 between the releases of glibc-2.17 and glibc-2.18.
Today we released Plasma 5.2 and this new release comes with two fixes for security vulnerabilities in our screen locker implementation. As I found, exploited, reported and fixed these vulnerabilities I decided to put them a little bit into context.
The first vulnerability concerns our QtQuick user interface for the lock screen. Through the Look and Feel package it was possible to send the login information to a remote location. That’s pretty bad but luckily also only a theoretical problem: we have not yet implemented a way to install new Look and Feel packages from the Internet. So we found the issue before any harm was done.
There is no shortage of security-focused Linux distributions on the market, and among them is Pentoo Linux. While some security-focused Linux distributions concentrate on privacy, like Tails, others like Kali Linux and Pentoo focus on security research, providing tools that enable research and penetration testing. Pentoo Linux differentiates itself from other security Linux distributions in a number of ways. The primary difference is the fact that Pentoo is based on Gentoo Linux, which is a source-based Linux distribution that uses the Portage package-management system. Gentoo has capabilities known as "Hardened Gentoo," which Pentoo also inherits, providing users with additional security configuration and control for the Linux distribution itself. Pentoo 2015 RC 3.7 was released Jan. 5, providing updated tools and features. Among the new features is the integrated ability to verify that the distribution files have not been corrupted. Pentoo provides many applications for security analysis, including wireless, database, exploit, cracking and forensic tools. In this slide show, eWEEK looks at key features and tools in the Pentoo 2015 RC3.7 release.
Open source software vendors do something akin to selling air: They get people to pay for something that easily, and perfectly legally, can be had for free. But added security is becoming an increasingly important part of the value proposition, as Red Hat (RHT), maker of one of the leading Linux enterprise distributions, emphasized this week in a statement on its software subscriptions.