Many see Linux as a reliable operating system in terms of malware attacks when compared to more popular options such as Microsoft. One reason for this sense of security is that Linux comprises only a small portion of the OS market, making it the least favorite target of hackers and malware developers. However, Linux users shouldn’t solely rely on this, since Linux also has its own set of limitations and vulnerabilities.
Linux trojan incident
According to Unreal IRCd Forums, they’ve found out that their Unreal22.214.171.124.tar.gz file on their mirrors have been recently replaced with a version that includes a trojan virus or backdoor. Through this backdoor, any person can actually execute any command along with the privileges of running the ircd. Despite the presence of user restrictions, this backdoor can still be executed. This means users who have servers or hubs that are protected by passwords are not protected from the trojan backdoor.
Unreal IRCd forums also added that the actual replacement on some mirrors happened last November of 2009. It seems that nobody from Unreal IRCd has noticed this until now. There is no definite number on the total download made for the Unreal126.96.36.199.tar.gz file, but it can be assumed that there are many unprotected systems out there that are using Linux.
However, the infected Unreal188.8.131.52.tar.gz file should not be found in any Linux business system, so any worries about the virus infecting a vital business or office server is minimal. Unreal IRCd ended its tale by saying that they should have noticed the signs but they did not, and that they should have checked the files on all mirrors on a regular basis but they weren’t able to do so. Also, Unreal IRCd forums also didn’t sign the releases through PGP/GPG, adding to the several reasons why this issue wasn’t detected as soon as possible.
Is Linux hacker-free?
Unfortunately this claim is unfounded, since Linux, like all other man-made operating systems, will always have vulnerabilities and faults. And to be fair, developers from Linux are aware about such vulnerabilities. The high sense of security may have stemmed from the fact that the Linux OS is written differently as compared to MS, making it harder for hackers to exploit faults in the program. Another reason for the sense of security is that any vulnerabilities on Linux’s open source software programs are usually fixed within hours.
This incident only means that even though Linux systems are the least possible targets of hackers and that the OS is more difficult to hack, developers and IT admins should always be vigilant when managing the system. Precautionary measures such as putting up firewalls and other anti-malware programs should always be practiced. Even though Linux experiences less threats when compared to software giant Microsoft, Linux will always experience vulnerabilities that should be dealt with accordingly. Users should never assume that their systems don’t need protection just because their systems are Linux-based. Installing the right anti-malware programs will help protect users from experiencing issues similar to what IRCd forums had to go through.