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Security

OpenBSD forks, prunes, fixes OpenSSL

Filed under
Security
BSD

OpenSSL is the dominant SSL/TLS library on the Internet, but has suffered significant reputation damage in recent days for the Heartbleed bug. The incident has revived criticism of OpenSSL as a poorly-run project with source code that is impenetrable and documented, where it is at all documented, badly and inaccurately.

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Easter egg: DSL router patch merely hides backdoor instead of closing it

Filed under
Hardware
Security
Legal

First, DSL router owners got an unwelcome Christmas present. Now, the same gift is back as an Easter egg. The same security researcher who originally discovered a backdoor in 24 models of wireless DSL routers has found that a patch intended to fix that problem doesn’t actually get rid of the backdoor—it just conceals it. And the nature of the “fix” suggests that the backdoor, which is part of the firmware for wireless DSL routers based on technology from the Taiwanese manufacturer Sercomm, was an intentional feature to begin with.

Back in December, Eloi Vanderbecken of Synacktiv Digital Security was visiting his family for the Christmas holiday, and for various reasons he had the need to gain administrative access to their Linksys WAG200G DSL gateway over Wi-Fi. He discovered that the device was listening on an undocumented Internet Protocol port number, and after analyzing the code in the firmware, he found that the port could be used to send administrative commands to the router without a password.

After Vanderbecken published his results, others confirmed that the same backdoor existed on other systems based on the same Sercomm modem, including home routers from Netgear, Cisco (both under the Cisco and Linksys brands), and Diamond. In January, Netgear and other vendors published a new version of the firmware that was supposed to close the back door.

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Oracle updates users on Heartbleed progress

Filed under
Red Hat
Server
Security

The Heartbleed fallout continues, but enterprise customers can draw some comfort from the fact that the companies that keep them in software are clearly as concerned as they are. For example, Oracle Corp. has announced mostly good, some bad and a bit of ugly news when it comes to security holes in its products.

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Safety you can bank on: Chromebook, Linux, phone

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

If you're not deterred by learning strange software, you can save hundreds of dollars by downloading a copy of the open-source Linux operating system and burning it to a CD or copying it to a flash drive. As security journalist Brian Krebs explained in the summer of 2012, you can pop that into your Windows PC, boot the machine off it, and go online insulated from whatever might lurk in your copy of Windows.

(In that post, Krebs endorsed a version of Linux with the charming name Puppy Linux; I usually recommend a different variety called Ubuntu, but the differences don't amount to much in this context.)

Using Linux just for online banking also insulates you from most of its potential complexity: You're only running a browser.

But if installing new apps in Windows already fills you with dread, or the thought of picking one version of Linux out of dozens makes your head hurt, spend money instead of time. A Chromebook just might work — and might be all the computer you needed in the first place.

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OpenSSL and Linux: A Tale of Two Open-Source Projects

Filed under
Linux
Security

Linux, arguably the world’s most emblematic open-source project, provides a counterpoint to OpenSSL’s problems. Volunteers all over the world submit seven changes to Linux every hour, and millions of lines of code improvements and fixes are voluntarily added to the software every year. Over 180 major companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, IBM and Samsung, every year contribute around half a million dollars to the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit that supports the Linux system.

So what explains the discrepancy between the inattention to OpenSSL and the great fortune of Linux? Good old lack of awareness, experts say.

Open-source advocates and participants say Linux has simply had the benefit of strong brand ambassadors and better name recognition than OpenSSL.

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Edward Snowden Used the Tails Linux Distro to Stay Hidden

Filed under
Security
Debian

The name Edward Snowden will be remembered as one of the biggest whistle-blowers in recent history, if not the most important one. People know more about Edward Snowden than they know about close relatives, but it seems that little has been revealed until now about this methods and how he managed to remain undetected. It all has to do with Linux, of course.

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TrueCrypt audit finds “no evidence of backdoors” or malicious code

Filed under
Security

Since September 2013, a handful of cryptographers have been discussing new problems and alternatives to the popular security application. By February 2014, the Open Crypto Audit Project—a new organization based in North Carolina that seeks formal 501(c)3 non-profit status—raised around $80,000 towards this goal on various online fundraising sites.

"[The results] don't panic me,” Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins cryptography professor who has been one of the people leading this effort, told Ars. “I think the code quality is not as high as it should be, but on the other hand, nothing terrible is in there, so that's reassuring”

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Former Chief Security Officer for Microsoft the Chairman of the Board of Firm Behind Heartbleed®

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Security

A serious conflict of interests that nobody in the media is talking about; Codenomicon is headed by Microsoft’s Howard A. Schmidt

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CyanogenMod reveals new branding that represents openness, security and customization

Filed under
Android
Security

Well, folks, it looks like CyanogenMod, Inc. is starting to shape up to look like a real legit company. The company has already made big deals with phone manufacturers and successfully raised a good deal of money to help in their endeavors, and now they are making some changes to the way they present themselves.

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Security Exaggeration, Linux on ATMs, and Mac Ubuntu

Filed under
Linux
Security
Ubuntu

A lot of Websites are still covering the last couple of Linux security breaches and today Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said, "It's not Linux's fault!" It rarely is. A lot of talk is heard lately about those last XP users and what they will use next, but yesterday ComputerWorld.com said ATMs will likely be migrated to Linux as well. That's a whole demographic we forgot to count. Jack Wallen says Google is "single-handedly" responsible for propelling Linux to the top. And Michael Larabel reports that Ubuntu 14.04 runs very well on MacBooks.

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today's leftovers

Proposed: A Tainted Performance State For The Linux Kernel

Similar to the kernel states of having a tainted kernel for using binary blob kernel modules or unsigned modules, a new tainting method has been proposed for warning the user about potentially adverse kernel performance. Dave Hansen of Intel has proposed a new "TAINT_PERFORMANCE" for the kernel that would proactively print a warning message about not using the kernel for any performance measurements. Dave explained in his RFC announcement, "I have more than once myself been the victim of an accidentally-enabled kernel configuration option being mistaken for a true performance problem. I'm sure I've also taken profiles or performance measurements and assumed they were real-world when really I was measuring the performance with an option that nobody turns on in production. A warning like this late in boot will help remind folks when these kinds of things are enabled." Read more

Scientific Linux 7.0 x86_64 BETA 3

Fermilab's intention is to continue the development and support of Scientific Linux and refine its focus as an operating system for scientific computing. Today we are announcing a beta release of Scientific Linux 7. We continue to develop a stable process for generating and distributing Scientific Linux, with the intent that Scientific Linux remains the same high quality operating system the community has come to expect. Please do not install Pre-Release software in your production environment. Read more