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09.26.13

Former Novell Staff Still Pushing the Linux Foundation Into Restricted Boot Territory, Ignoring the Real Threat (Back Doors)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Novell, Security at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Greg Kroah-Hartman
Photo by Sebastian Oliva

Summary: Back doors in code, embedded in blobs, and even shoehorned into encryption is the overlooked security threat, which gets pushed aside in favour of phantom threats which Microsoft ‘sells’ through former Novell staff (i.e. funded by Microsoft)

A MONTH or two ago we mostly ignored exaggerated (sexed-up) reports about something called “Hand of Thief”. When there’s a Windows security threat the press does not call out Windows, but when it relates to GNU/Linux then tabloids like ZDNet scream from the rooftops. This thing called “Hand of Thief” is basically a malicious program which GNU/Linux users need to install themselves in order for it to do malicious things. It is not a virus, it does not spread, and it hardly even uses social engineering to get itself installed. We cited some reports which stress these facts and now comes a belated one too [1]. LynuxWorks is now offering some “Linux rootkit detector” [2] as if rootkits on GNU/Linux are a common issue. In a sense, since the Linux Foundation seems to insist on helping UEFI restricted boot, we are led to the belief that bootkits are a common threat to Linux. As the Linux Foundation’s site put it, as in the words of the employee it acquired from Novell:

Now that The Linux Foundation is a member of the UEFI.org group, I’ve been working on the procedures for how to boot a self-signed Linux kernel on a platform so that you do not have to rely on any external signing authority.

Greg K-H has been working on all sorts of other kernel-level projects that help Microsoft. He did this while being paid by Novell, which was in turn being given money by Microsoft. That’s the power of money. Other former Novell employees also helped promote UEFI restricted boot, as we showed before. Rogue influence by Novell in the Linux Foundation is a subject we have written about for half a decade, showing numerous examples.

The bigger security issue right now might be back doors, which might also exist in Linux, even in encryption form [3] (giving away passwords over the network for example), so hard-to-crack passwords [4] might not be enough. Microsoft’s and Sony’s network compromises sure reveal the massive financial effects of system intrusions, so this subject should not be taken lightly.

UEFI restricted boot is actually a security threat, not a security solution, especially when a signature is provided and managed by some rogue company in the United States — one which has been secretly in bed with the NSA. With UEFI restricted boot, hardware can be bricked remotely. In a way, UEFI restricted boot deserves the name “unsecure boot”. In some devices it can block the user from accessing his/her own computer. Nobody should promote such treacherous computing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Hand of Thief, Not

    Linux’s biggest vulnerability is the software that users install with full “superuser” privileges. If you just install applications from your distro’s official repository, that’s not a problem. But if you download software from dubious web sites, or if you add a mysterious repository to your package manager, you’re opening yourself up for an infection. Always, always make sure you know what software you are installing, why you are installing it, and where it’s from.

  2. Linux rootkit detector adds hardware punch to security scanning

    LynuxWorks is stepping up the battle with the release of the first hardware-based rootkit detection system powered by the LynxSecure separation kernel. Called the RDS5201, it combats and detects stealthy advanced persistent threats. Built on the LynxSecure 5.2 separation kernel and hypervisor, this small form factor appliance has been designed to offer a unique detection capability that complements traditional security mechanisms as they try to protect against the growing number and complexity of cyber threats.

  3. RSA warns developers not to use RSA products

    In today’s news of the weird, RSA (a division of EMC) has recommended that developers desist from using the (allegedly) ‘backdoored’ Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator — which happens to be the default in RSA’s BSafe cryptographic toolkit. Youch.

  4. How-to make hard-to-crack passwords you can easily remember
  5. Australian who boasted of hacking to plead not guilty to charges stemming from raid

    Dylan Wheeler, who claimed in February to have breached Microsoft’s and Sony’s networks, has not been charged with hacking

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