Linux Security Week - February 14th 2005
Source: Contributors - Posted by Benjamin D. Thomas   
Linux Security Week This week, perhaps the most interesting articles include "Security best practices for Red Hat and Fedora Core," "Chat Transcript: Real World Linux Security with Bob Toxen," and "Linux Kernel Security is Lacking."

Internet Productivity Suite: Open Source Security - Trust Internet Productivity Suite's open source architecture to give you the best security and productivity applications available. Collaborating with thousands of developers, Guardian Digital security engineers implement the most technologically advanced ideas and methods into their design. Click to find out more!

LINUX ADVISORY WATCH - This week, advisories were released for python, squid, php, emacs, postgres, evolution, mailman, hztty, hwbrowser, cups, hotplug, xpdf, kdegraphics, gallery, perl, and squirrelmail. The distributors include Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSE. Feature Extras:

Getting to Know Linux Security: File Permissions - Welcome to the first tutorial in the 'Getting to Know Linux Security' series. The topic explored is Linux file permissions. It offers an easy to follow explanation of how to read permissions, and how to set them using chmod. This guide is intended for users new to Linux security, therefore very simple.

The Tao of Network Security Monitoring: Beyond Intrusion Detection - The Tao of Network Security Monitoring is one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date sources available on the subject. It gives an excellent introduction to information security and the importance of network security monitoring, offers hands-on examples of almost 30 open source network security tools, and includes information relevant to security managers through case studies, best practices, and recommendations on how to establish training programs for network security staff.

Encrypting Shell Scripts - Do you have scripts that contain sensitive information like passwords and you pretty much depend on file permissions to keep it secure? If so, then that type of security is good provided you keep your system secure and some user doesn't have a "ps -ef" loop running in an attempt to capture that sensitive info (though some applications mask passwords in "ps" output).


Bulletproof Virus Protection - Protect your network from costly security breaches with Guardian Digital’s multi-faceted security applications. More then just an email firewall, on demand and scheduled scanning detects and disinfects viruses found on the network. Click to find out more!

Take advantage of our Linux Security discussion list! This mailing list is for general security-related questions and comments. To subscribe send an e-mail to with "subscribe" as the subject.

Thank you for reading the weekly security newsletter. The purpose of this document is to provide our readers with a quick summary of each week's most relevant Linux security headline.

  Hashing out encryption
  8th, February, 2005

Federal agencies have been put on notice that National Institute of Standards and Technology officials plan to phase out a widely used cryptographic hash function known as SHA-1 in favor of larger and stronger hash functions such as SHA-256 and SHA-512.
  Quantum leap
  11th, February, 2005

It began 25 years ago in the warm coastal waters of Puerto Rico when a stranger swam over to Gilles Brassard and struck up a conversation about using quantum physics to make bank notes impossible to counterfeit. "I had no idea who he was," recalled Brassard, then a 24-year-old prodigy and computer-science professor at the Universite de Montreal. "He just started talking nonsense about quantum physics."
  "Linux Server Security" book Released by O'Reilly
  8th, February, 2005

"The recent, unprecedented growth in automated attacks, especially in the form of worms, viruses, and Trojans, has really amplified the ramifications of system vulnerabilities," notes Bauer. "Since these crop up relentlessly and unpredictably, it's more important than ever that any Internet-connected Linux system be not only patched, but very carefully configured to contain both anticipated and unanticipated security failures.
  Some surprising finds about Linux selection criteria
  11th, February, 2005

n January and early February, InfoWorld conducted a survey about Linux usage and expectations. Reliability, security and performance -- in that order-- are the three top criteria points that customers consider when opting for Linux, with cost being the fourth most important criteria. As part of the study, we determined vendor ranking across all four criteria. IBM and Sun dominated the top 3 categories.
  Internet Firewalls FAQ
  10th, February, 2005

A firewall is a system or group of systems that enforces an access control policy between two or more networks. The actual means by which this is accomplished varies widely, but in principle, the firewall can be thought of as a pair of mechanisms: one which exists to block traffic, and the other which exists to permit traffic. FAQ
  10th, February, 2005

A firewall is an organizationally and technical concept for the separation of networks, its correct implementation and constant maintenance. One piece that's often used is a piece of hardware that connects to networks the way as it's allowed in the concept. This piece of hardware is often called firewall-system/computer or in short firewall.
  Evaluating Your Firewall
  11th, February, 2005

Are you an administrator or security analyst who watches over a firewall with a hundred or more rules? Or perhaps a hired gun who must review a firewall with years of crusty buildup? Are you creating a test lab that involves a wide variety of networks, servers, and risks? If you're interested in enterprise-level firewalls, this article will help you make sense of common failures in processes and tools. We'll focus on enterprise-grade business and networking issues that affect firewalls. (Penetration studies and piercing firewalls from the outside will be covered in a later article.)
  The CIS Linux benchmark: Security best practices for Red Hat and Fedora Core
  11th, February, 2005

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a non-profit association for the promotion of computer security. Its members, largely North American, range from IBM and Motorola to universities and individuals. Through the consensus of members, it develops a list of best practices for Windows, Linux, Solaris and Free BSD, as well as Cisco routers, Oracle databases, and Apache Web servers. These best practices are incorporated into benchmark scripts and accompanying PDF guides for interpreting the results and improving security with a series of actions and scripts. The CIS Linux Benchmark provides a comprehensive checklist for system hardening.
  Browsers Hit by Spoofing Flaw
  9th, February, 2005

The flaw affects a broad range of browsers that use the open-source Gecko browser kernel. Anyone using Firefox, Safari, or the like, could be visiting spoofed sites without realizing it. Since some phishing scams rely on fake sites to collect personal information, users could be opening themselves up to identity theft.
  Chat Transcript: Real World Linux Security with Bob Toxen
  8th, February, 2005

On Tuesday, February 8th 2005, hosted an online chat with the well-known author, consultant, and Linux security expert Bob Toxen. Topics discussed include Linux security best practices, the 7 deadly sins of Linux security, favorite security tools, penetration testing, forensic investigations, merits of open source, full-disclosure, and log evaluation. Once again, we at want to thank Bob for his participation.
  Australia to get full Linux security conference?
  9th, February, 2005

Organisers of LCA 2005, the International Linux conference due to be held in Canberra this April, are hoping its security mini-conference will expand into a separate conference by next year.
  Linux Kernel Security is Lacking
  7th, February, 2005

During the disclosure of some recent vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel, I learned some things about Linux kernel security that was truly shocking. The way security in the Linux kernel is handled is broken, and it needs to be fixed right now. I'm a big proponent of open source software. Although personally I'm a huge follower of BSD-based operating systems, I keep an open and analytical mind when looking at any OS. Unfortunately, I was totally blown away with some of the things that I learned about Linux kernel security during the release of some recent vulnerabilities in the kernel code.
  Company’s Linux-based Mail Solution Helps ISP’s Prevent New Spam Threat
  9th, February, 2005

Guardian Digital, the world’s premier open source Internet security company today announced the availability of the first anti-spam software tool designed specifically to diminish the threat of Trojan zombie attacks. Responsible for a high volume of successful spam attacks, this latest email threat is causing serious problems within corporate email infrastructures. Known to take over unsuspecting computers and utilize its resources to send out spam messages, zombie-type attacks use the domain name of the victimized computers ISP to send messages that appear as if they are coming directly from the ISP, making it very difficult for customary anti-spam solutions to block them.
  Linux Firm Raises Performance Bar on Anti-spam & Anti-phishing Applications
  9th, February, 2005

Guardian Digital, the world’s premier open source Internet security company, today reinforced their dedication to email security with the release of Secure Mail Suite v. 3.2. Incorporating advanced technologies for enterprise spam and phishing protection, Secure Mail Suite v. 3.2 is the first solution of its kind to include distributed protection from these types of attacks including the latest blended threats.
  Ottawa firm touts trustworthy Linux-based security solution
  10th, February, 2005

Ottawa-based Googgun Technologies Inc. (GTI) recently introduced the second version of its Trustifier Linux-based security solution. The solution is designed to protect information systems from internal and external attacks on the network. GTI said Trustifer would protect business applications (and therefore users) from themselves. Whether buffer-overflow vulnerabilities, stack-execution attacks, malicious code or buggy programming, Trustifier can cage it in, disallow its operation, or silence requests for privileged operations. Administrators can specify which applications get what privileged operations, and have them do those in confinement of time, data and repetition.
  Security management for the littler guy
  9th, February, 2005

"These products are fairly expensive and tend to be deployed in large environments," says Gartner Inc. analyst Amrit Williams. "They have not approached the middle tier or the small-office/home-office market yet."
  Is Firefox's tail on fire?
  10th, February, 2005

Browser switching is taking place at the level of individual users, rather than organisations, and some of the factors that make Firefox more appealing than Internet Explorer are likely to go away as the browser gets to be more popular, said Gartner analysts Ray Valdes, David Mitchell Smith and Whit Andrews. "The growth in usage of Firefox is driven by factors that are not inherently sustainable," they have warned.
  Not All Identity Theft is Cyberspaced; Incidents More Likely to be 'Paper-Based'
  7th, February, 2005

"Identity theft continues to be a very serious threat. One in 23 adults will be victimized this year, with a total loss exceeding $50 billion. To prevent the misuse of our personal information, survey research shows we should be as safety-conscious in our home and office, as we are on the Internet," said Ken Hunter, President of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.
  Hacker forces state to pull down Web site
  9th, February, 2005

Hackers forced the state to pull down its Web site Tuesday, but officials said no private information was compromised. However, the hacker left the message "Look what I can do!" For most of the day, visitors to saw a message that the site was down for maintenance, posted after hackers go into a server sometime after midnight.
  World's Largest Secure Wireless Access Network
  7th, February, 2005

GoRemote Internet Communications further extended its leadership in delivering managed secure remote access solutions by unveiling the world's largest and most comprehensive secure wireless access network. GoRemote is the first to offer a single solution for mobile users to obtain secure remote connectivity using virtually any type of wireless access, including free Wi-Fi hotspots, in-flight Wi-Fi, cellular and 3G.

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