Linux Security Week: June 20th 2005
Source: Contributors - Posted by Benjamin D. Thomas   
Linux Security Week

This week, perhaps the most interesting articles include "Top Open-Source Security Applications," "Cutting Through the Linux Security Hype," and "Mobile & Wireless World to focus on Wi-Fi, Security."

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.

LINUX ADVISORY WATCH - This week, advisories were released for mikmod, tcpdump, yum, elinks, parted, system-config-securitylevel, checkpolicy, spamassassin, gaim, libextractor, Ettercap, shtool, gedit, MediaWiki, gzip, gftp, squid, rsh, sysreport, telnet, bz, and mc. The distributors include Fedora, Gentoo, and Red Hat. Feature Extras:

Introduction: Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities - Buffer overflows are a leading type of security vulnerability. This paper explains what a buffer overflow is, how it can be exploited, and what countermeasures can be taken to prevent the use of buffer overflow vulnerabilities.

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.

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.

  Talking with Richard Stallman
  12th, June, 2005

1) Let's start. Can you explain to our readers why you started with FSF in 1984? What did you need of? Why you created it?
What I started in 1984 was the development of the GNU operating system. All the operating systems for modern computers of the day were proprietary; users were forbidden to share them, and could not get the source code to change them. The only way to use computers in freedom was to replace those systems with a free operating system. That's what GNU was meant to do. The Free Software Foundation was started in late 1985 to raise funds for GNU development, and more generally to promote free software.


  (IN)SECURE Digital Security Magazine issue 2 is out
  17th, June, 2005

The second issue of (IN)SECURE, a free digital security magazine published in PDF format, has been released:

  Book Review: "Apache Security" By O'Reilly
  12th, June, 2005

I've just completed my review on "Apache Security" by O'Reilly."This book was written by Ivan Ristic, the author of the popular Apache web application firewall module mod_security. Naturally this book does discuss how to use mod_security to harden your system, but I'm happy to report it isn't his main area of focus. One of the first things that I do while reviewing a book is to find all the things that the text doesn't cover that it *really* should have and point them out in my review. Simply put this book has everything, and I do mean everything. Here's the low down on a per chapter basis."
  O'Reilly Releases "SSH, The Secure Shell: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition"
  16th, June, 2005

The name looks like the sound you'd make to hush someone, which is not inappropriate if you think of SSH, the secure shell, as a means of silently sending information between computers. "SSH" is actually pronounced by spelling it aloud "S-S-H," and isn't a shell at all, but a protocol. The name was originally coined from the rsh utility, a Unix program that also provides logins.
  Top Open-Source Security Applications
  15th, June, 2005

According to most security professionals, a top-tier, open-source security tool must have sufficient history to allow a practitioner to use it with confidence. And it must have a sufficiently large developer base to ensure that fixes will be available in light of discovered vulnerabilities. Pegasystems’ Business Process Management (BPM) solutions offer organizations the agility critical to managing growth, productivity and compliance. Our solution unifies pure-play BPM with a sophisticated Business Rules Engine. Pegasystems makes it easy for people and systems to work together.
  Endian Firewall
  15th, June, 2005

Endian Firewall is a turn-key Linux security distribution based on IPCop that turns a system into a security appliance. The features include a stateful packet inspection firewall, application-level proxies for various protocols (HTTP, POP3, SMTP) with anti-virus support, virus and spam filtering for E-mail traffic (POP and SMTP), content filtering of Web traffic and VPN (based on OpenVPN).
  Intrusion Protection Systems get hot
  13th, June, 2005

Taxed with providing an ever-expanding range of complex security functions, IPS vendors are rising to the challenge, transforming their wares to go beyond simply identifying and stopping attacks based on updated threat profiles.
  McAfee Aims to Prevent Linux Attacks
  14th, June, 2005

McAfee is looking to help protect against what it calls a dramatic increase of attacks on Linux systems. The company's Entercept intrusion prevention system -- already available for Windows and Solaris -- uses a combination of behavioral rules, signatures and a firewall to protect IT infrastructure from attack.
  Cutting Through the Linux Security Hype
  17th, June, 2005

Do you think there are security benefits businesses could reap by simply switching to open source solutions?

Greenberg: Yes. A great number of security holes are because of Windows having glaring security holes in its browser and mail agent. Use Windows and Firefox, for example, instead of Windows and IE, and 80 percent of the security concerns vanish. The number of security threats in an OS-to-OS face off is about equal, from what I see. As — and if — Linux usage increases, the Linux threat level may increase.
  Java flaws open door to hackers
  15th, June, 2005

Sun Microsystems has fixed a pair of security bugs in Java that could be exploited by attackers to take over computers running Windows, Linux and Solaris.

The flaws are "highly critical," security monitoring company Secunia said in an advisory posted Tuesday. Flaws that get that ranking--one notch below Secunia's most severe "extremely critical" rating--are typically remotely exploitable and can lead to full system compromise.
  Security Best Practices
  13th, June, 2005

Centralization, automation, problem prioritization--many IT-security professionals are embracing those concepts as they fight off the never-ending onslaught of threats. Security products can help businesses stem the flood of vulnerabilities, but IT teams also have to put in place processes to ensure that they're responding appropriately and being proactive in warding off potential dangers. Fact is, some companies spend too much on some parts of their organization and not enough on more-vulnerable areas.
  Easier controls improve security
  14th, June, 2005

Computer Associates and RSA Security have released products to centralise security management and make policies easier to define and deploy. The aim is to make it simpler to implement complex data security measures. CA's eTrust Identity and Access Management (IAM) Toolkit is a development system that lets organisations build a single method of user identity and control, said the firm. The system spans Windows, Unix, Linux and web services applications that would otherwise demand separate solutions of their own.
  Is IPsec on borrowed time?
  14th, June, 2005

For proof that hunger is growing in the information security community for Secure Sockets Layer-based virtual private networks, look at the latest offerings from Check Point Software and Juniper Networks. For insight on what the big deal is, ask Steve Smith, network manager for Erie, Pa.-based Saint Vincent Health System.
  Stealthy Trojan horses, modular bot software dodging defenses
  14th, June, 2005

Software attack tools that turn PCs into remotely controlled zombies are getting better, but defenses are not keeping up, say security experts. The latest threats are tailored to attack specific companies, foregoing rapid spread and avoiding notice. Others use modular components, such as an infector that can be changed to defeat the latest antivirus software and a second-stage component that turns off PC defenses.
  Hashing exploit threatens digital security
  15th, June, 2005

Cryptographers have found a way to snip a digital signature from one document and attach it to a fraudulent document without invalidating the signature and giving the fraud away.

The development means that attackers could potentially forge legal documents, load certified software with bogus code, or turn a digitally-signed letter of recommendation into one that authorises access to private information.
  The State Of Internet Security
  15th, June, 2005

While the scams that daily flood our e-mail in-boxes show no signs of abating, there is some good news for the users who have to sort through them all. So says VeriSign, in its latest "State of Internet Security" address covering the first three months of 2005.
  BindView Presents IT Security Compliance Best Practices for the C&A Process
  16th, June, 2005

The C&A process is well-known by federal agencies as a highly manual process that artificially increases costs and delays, and isolates resulting data from other systems that might benefit from its use. The webinar will cover new methodologies and technologies for integrating the C&A process with an organization's IT security compliance and automation efforts to achieve success in meeting regulatory mandates and significantly reduce costs and delays.
  Top Open-Source Security Applications
  17th, June, 2005

Those responsible for enterprise security are increasingly turning to open-source applications in lieu of security products based on proprietary code -- and for many good reasons.
  Most want government to make Internet safe
  16th, June, 2005

Most Americans believe the government should do more to make the Internet safe, but they don't trust the federal institutions that are largely responsible for creating and enforcing laws online, a new industry survey says.
  Your ISP as Net watchdog
  17th, June, 2005

The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.

Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs--that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place. No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept.
  Computer viruses become hacker informants
  13th, June, 2005

An emerging breed of computer virus that keeps hackers informed about the latest weaknesses in computer networks has been discovered by security experts. The viruses infect a network, scan for security vulnerabilities and then report back to hackers through an internet chatroom.
  Mobile & Wireless World to focus on Wi-Fi, security, RFID
  14th, June, 2005

When it comes to mobile and wireless technology, what keeps a CIO up at night? John Wade, CIO of the Saint Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Mo., said he faces many of the same problems confronting other CIOs when it comes to supporting mobile and wireless technology in a large organization. Wade is one of 25 senior IT managers making presentations at Computerworld's Mobile & Wireless World conference this week in Scottsdale, Ariz. The event kicks off today, with an expected audience of about 300 attendees, including many senior IT managers, organizers said.

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