Hackers break into Linux source code site
But Linux geeks say that the kernel source code is secure
IDG News Service - As Linux fans know, there are two kinds of hackers: the good guys who develop free software, such as the Linux kernel, and the bad guys who break into computers.
The bad guys paid the good guys an unwelcome visit earlier this month, breaking into the Kernel.org website that is home to the Linux project. They gained root access to a server known as Hera and ultimately compromised "a number of servers in the kernel.org infrastructure," according to a note on the kernel.org website Wednesday.
Administrators of the website learned of the problem Sunday and soon discovered a number of bad things were happening on their servers. Files were modified, a malicious program was added to the server's startup scripts and some user data was logged.
Kernel.org's owners have contacted law enforcement in the U.S. and Europe and are in the process of reinstalling the site's infrastructure and figuring out what happened.
They think that the hackers may have stolen a user's login credentials to break into the system, and the site is making each of its 448 users change their passwords and SSH (Secure Shell) keys.
The hack is worrying because Kernel.org is the place where Linux distributors download the source code for the widely used operating system's kernel. But Kernel.org's note says that, even with root access, it would be difficult for a hacker to slip malicious source code into the Linux kernel without it being noticed. That's because Linux's change-tracking system takes a cryptographic hash of each file at the time it is published.
So once a component of the Linux kernel has been written and published to Kernel.org, "it is not possible to change the old versions without it being noticed," the Kernel.org note said.
This kind of compromise has become disturbingly common. In January, servers used by the Fedora project -- the community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- were hacked. And around the same time another open-source software development site called SourceForge was also broken into.
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- Top Tips for Securing Big Data Environments: Why Big Data Doesn't Have to Mean Big Security Challenges Organizations must come to terms with the security challenges they introduce. As big data environments ingest more data, organizations will face significant risks...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!