Die-hard bug bytes Linux kernel for second time
Get your root access here
The Linux kernel has been purged of a bug that gave root access to untrusted users – again.
The vulnerability in a component of the operating system that translates values from 64 bits to 32 bits (and vice versa) was fixed once before – in 2007 with the release of version 18.104.22.168. But several months later, developers inadvertently rolled back the change, once again leaving the OS open to attacks that allow unprivileged users to gain full root access.
The bug was originally discovered by the late hacker Wojciech "cliph" Purczynski. But Ben Hawkes, the researcher who discovered the kernel regression bug, said here that he grew suspicious when he recently began tinkering under the hood of the open-source OS and saw signs the flaw was still active.
“I showed this to my friend Robert Swiecki who had written an exploit for the original bug in 2007, and he immediately said something along the lines of 'well this is interesting,'” Hawkes wrote. “We pulled up his old exploit from 2007, and with a few minor modifications to the privilege escalation code, we had a root shell.”
No doubt, Linux fans will be quick to point out that the bug can be exploited only by those with a valid account on a targeted machine in the first place. This is true, but the existence of vulnerabilities like these are a big deal in corporate, government and educational environments, where Linux
is a mainstay has a large following. Add privilege escalation to the mix and things like protected mode, integrity levels, and chroot – often the very reason the OS was chosen in the first place – are largely wiped out.
The oversight means that untrusted users with, say, limited SSH access have a trivial means to gain unfettered access to pretty much any 64-bit installation. Consider, too, that the bug has been allowed to fester in the kernel for years and was already fixed once before and we think a measured WTF is in order.
Linux IS A Mainstay
Deutsche Börse - leading derivatives platform - soon all Linux
Google - all Linux
Facebook - all Linux
CERN - leading end-the-world-fear-attractor/Master Proton Smasher - all Linux
Android - Linux
countless faceless devices like DSL routers - Linux
Even though the financial sector has the money to buy from IBM and MS, they have discovered that it makes much more sense to go with the Google approach (hire smart and expensive people, use Linux and other FOSS).
Adobe, MS and Oracle demonstrated this year that their ability to adapt and fix problems is comparable to the ability of a slug to cross a highway. Eventually they will make it.
Linux fixes exploits in two days, normally. Now somebody fixed Adobe's crap with a hex editor. They don't manage even though they have the source. I guess their developers don't have time for that because they busily update their "personal performance metrics and professional development" Excel sheet. If they are not held up by a "global business intelligence meeting". Or by fixing their Visual SourceSafe code-fermentization&decomposition facility.
I once worked for Quark, and they did use VSS.
Someone is *wrong* on the Internet. Right now, that someone is you.
> The system is inherently safe anyway.
Not sure what you mean by that... No computer operating system, application, or platform can be called "inherently safe" unless it was specifically designed for safety from the ground-up. Very few general-purpose, consumer- and commercial-grade operating systems and platforms fall into this category.
Telco-grade Class 4 (4ESS) and Class 5 (5ESS) circuit switching equipment, certain automated railroad signalling systems, some types of industrial control equipment, and various medical device control systems fall may fall into the "inherently safe" category, but your home or office PC, even if it runs Linux, most assuredly does not.
I'm an ardent GNU/Linux supporter, and have been using it almost exclusively as my OS of choice for the better part of 10 years now (none of my home PCs run Windows or Mac OS X). Even so, I would be foolhardy if I trusted it to be "inherently safe."
While I do believe that GNU/Linux-based operating systems are **safer** in many ways than Windows and Mac OS X, I have seen my share of GNU/Linux boxes crash-and-burn (figuratively) because of poor configuration, lackadaisical patching, improper oversight, and yes, even the not-so-occasional bugs (both new and regressed).