Linux Security Week: August 15th 2005
Source: Contributors - Posted by Benjamin D. Thomas   
Linux Security Week This week, perhaps the most interesting articles include "Real World Open Source: Security," "Why the computing world chose PKI," "Dump Your DMZ," and "OS exploits are old hat."

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 yaboot, ttmkfdir, Netpbm, ruby, squirrelmail, sysreport, xpdf, kdegraphics, cups, ucd-snmp, gaim, ethereal, and gpdf. The distributors include Fedora, Gentoo, and Red Hat. Feature Extras:

Linux File & Directory Permissions Mistakes - One common mistake Linux administrators make is having file and directory permissions that are far too liberal and allow access beyond that which is needed for proper system operations. A full explanation of unix file permissions is beyond the scope of this article, so I'll assume you are familiar with the usage of such tools as chmod, chown, and chgrp. If you'd like a refresher, one is available right here on

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.

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.

  Why the computing world chose PKI
  11th, August, 2005

In Phil Zimmermann's response to "Does Phil Zimmermann need a clue on VoIP", Zimmermann offered a blistering attack on PKI based solutions and offered his own PGP solution as the superior alternative. There is just one little problem: the computing world chose PKI for the most part while PGP barely makes a dent in the email world.
  OSSEC v0.2 Available
  12th, August, 2005

OSSEC HIDS is a self-contained system for Host-based intrusion detection. It performs log extraction, integrity checking and health monitoring. All this information is correlated and analyzed by a single engine, creating a very powerfull detection tool.
  Dump Your DMZ!
  9th, August, 2005

DMZs (short for demilitarized zones) have been a standard component of network design ever since firewalls were invented. A DMZ is a network segment that contains all resources, such as Web servers and mail servers, accessible from the Internet. Implementing a DMZ allows you to limit network traffic from the Internet to these resources in the DMZ, while preventing any network traffic from the Internet to your internal network. As a general rule, a DMZ server should never contain any valuable data, so even if someone managed to break into a server in the DMZ, the damage would be minor.
  OS exploits are 'old hat'
  9th, August, 2005

Security issues involving Cisco kit highlighted in Michael Lynn’s presentation at Black Hat are characteristic of networking vendors in general. Cisco is just the most visible of these vendors to target as hackers raise their sights from attacking operating systems towards attacking network infrastructure and database systems, security researchers warn.
  Real World Open Source: Security
  12th, August, 2005

Security breaches in software applications and networks are one of the biggest threats organizations currently face. But unless you pack your computers into boxes and go back to pencils, paper, and typewriters, being mindful of electronic security is an unavoidable reality and business expense. Because security vulnerabilities are such a high stakes issue, the subject has become a political hot potato between open source and commercial software advocates, with each pointing a finger at the other. Some commercial software vendors claim that their model promotes security while the open source model weakens it; some open source developers claim the exact opposite.
  Red Hat bangs the security drum
  9th, August, 2005

Red Hat has unveiled an initiative dubbed 'Security in a Networked World' at the LinuxWorld tradeshow in San Francisco. As part of the programme, the Linux vendor showcased its Red Hat Certificate System that allows organisations to manage security certificates used to sign emails, or authenticate users for online banking applications. It also supports authentication through the use of smartcards. Red Hat has been working with the Apache Foundation to add support for the Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client through the use of Apache's open source Network Security Service Libraries.
  Linux Providers Partner To Address Security And Support
  10th, August, 2005

Companies that sell software and hardware around the Linux open-source operating system have known for some time that they've tapped into a gold mine, an area of the IT market with plenty of customer interest and enormous growth potential. The growth will continue as long as Linux and other open-source software are considered secure and are sold and serviced as bundles rather than as individual products.
  Is Firefox's Notification Lag Necessary?
  11th, August, 2005

In a previous post about Firefox I proposed that the lack of automatic deployment of Firefox software updates is a disservice to the vast majority of Firefox users who may not bother to check in for updates. Today I found out another interesting tidbit: the Mozilla Foundation doesn't turn on Firefox's automatic notification feature for several hours after a new Firefox version is available.
  LinuxWorld Focus Turns to Security
  8th, August, 2005

Looking to counter Microsoft Corp.'s claims of security superiority, open-source software vendors are giving the battle against vulnerabilities top billing at this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.
  Security still underfunded
  8th, August, 2005

Companies and governments secure their networks because they have massive financial resources, intellectual property and assets that need protection. Security for most companies, particularly the Fortune 100, does not exist in a vacuum -- most do something other than make hardware or software for their customers. Spending on security is up dramatically over where it was five years ago, but it's still much lower than it needs to be. Why? Because we're losing the battle.
  A CSO's Guide to the World
  10th, August, 2005

I'm usually not one who gets into bumper sticker logic, but I like the idea of a CSO acting globally but thinking locally. By that I mean a CSO needs to devise and enforce global security policies, but also put some thought into how those policies will be implemented locally around the world. Otherwise, variations in national customs and culture can short-circuit even the most well-intentioned security policies.
  Torvalds: How to Keep Linux Kernel on Course
  10th, August, 2005

The rapid pace of Linux development appeared to hit a roadblock last year with the industry's decision to forestall development of the Linux 2.7 kernel. Linux vendors and developers wondered if tweaking a single, stable 2.6 kernel could work in practice. According to open-source insiders, the move to create separate kernel trees for technology testing and bug fixes, which are then incorporated into the stable kernel when ready, has been a huge success, pleasing both kernel developers and the vendors who distribute the open-source operating system.
  GPL3 first public draft due early 2006
  10th, August, 2005

The first draft of the next version of the General Public License should be released for public comments in early 2006, according to a key player in the effort to modernize the foundation of the free and open-source programming movements.
  Open-source allies go on patent offensive
  11th, August, 2005

Two Linux allies are taking a leaf out of their opponents' book as they try to prevent software patents from putting a crimp in open source. Red Hat will finance outside programmers' efforts to obtain patents that may be used freely by open-source developers, the top Linux seller said Tuesday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here. At the same time, the Open Source Developer Labs launched a patent commons project, which will provide a central list of patents that have been donated to the collaborative programming community.
  E-mail wiretap case can proceed, court says
  12th, August, 2005

In a closely watched case governing Internet privacy, a federal appeals court has reinstated a criminal case against an e-mail provider accused of violating wiretap laws. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 vote, ruled on Thursday that an e-mail provider who allegedly read correspondence meant for his customers could be tried on federal criminal charges.
  Sean Moshir on Wireless Security and Compliance
  8th, August, 2005

In this interview, Sean Moshir, PatchLink Chief Executive Officer discusses security patching, vulnerability and compliancy management for wireless phones and PDA devices and talks about the current state and future of wireless security in the enterprise.

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