A security researcher has discovered a significant Linux security flaw that has been present for over ten years.
(CCM) — Computer users who believe that they can avoid security problems by using the Linux operating system saw their illusion shattered today following the revelation that the software contains an 11-year old flaw that has been named Dirty COW. A local user, or someone accessing the computer over the Internet, could potentially use this flaw to increase their privileges on a system, resulting in them getting root access to the computer. With root access, a user can do almost anything, including deleting accounts and data and installing unauthorized applications and malicious software.
The kernel flaw was patched by Linux principal developer Linux Tovalds in 2006 to fix the problem, but it reappeared in 2007 as a result of another unrelated patch. Phil Oester, the researcher who discovered the flaw, said that exploiting the flaw is trivial and never fails. For that reason, he recommends that all Linux users take the bug seriously and patch their systems as soon as possible.
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