Free Linux Virus Writing Course.

Over on the ubuntuweblogs, Gerry Ilagan pointed the readership to this excellent article by Foobar on how to write a Linux virus.

I will show how it is possible in a few easy steps to write a perfectly valid email borne virus for modern desktop Linux. I will do so not because I want to put down Linux. Quite the opposite: I like and support Linux, which is all I’m running at home and at work. I’m a big supporter of free and open software as readers of this blog will know. But if there are any security risks, even in my favourite OS or distribution then they will need to be discussed. Even more important: A false sense of security is worse than a lack of security. And unsubstantiated claims of superiority don’t help in a reasonable discussion either.

OK it isn’t quite a Linux virus, more like a Gnome/KDE virus but the point is clearly made. There is a pretty big hole in the current Desktop implementations, i.e. KDE and Gnome, whereby a file with the .desktop suffix is essentially executable even though it does not have to have the execute bit set.

It is well worth reading and understanding so you can protect yourself from being stupid.

And hopefully someone upstream will take notice too…

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  • Alan Pope says:

    I for one welcome our virus writing overlords!

    At least _we_ can fix our OS (what with it being open source) to break the suggestions this guy makes.

  • Alan Lord says:

    Yes. I completely agree.

    Although it seems somewhat ironic, discussing and debating these holes in public can only help to improve matters – both within the software itself and with user’s behaviour too.

  • markc says:

    This was a really good article, well written and even for a newbie like me, made it relatively easy to understand. Recommend reading to everyone whos new to linux and using a common desktop like KDE or Gnome

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