Linux Advisory Watch: August 29th 2005
Source: Contributors - Posted by Benjamin D. Thomas   
Linux Security Week This week, perhaps the most interesting articles include "Storm brewing over SHA-1 as further breaks are found," "Linux Kernel Denial of Service and IPsec Policy Bypass," and "Information Security in Campus and Open Environments."

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LINUX ADVISORY WATCH - This week, advisories were releaed for bluez-utils, thunderbird, mysql, epiphany, system-config-netboot, kdbg, doxygen, kdeedu, ncpfs, gaim, system-config-bind, tar, vnc, metacity, cups, pygtk, slocate, myodbc, xpdf, libgal2, dhcpv, diskdumputils, kdebase, cvs, hwdata, eject, pcre, kismet, wikiwiki, apache, tor, netpbm, vim, and elm. The distributors include Debian, 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.

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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.

  Storm brewing over SHA-1 as further breaks are found
  24th, August, 2005

Three Chinese researchers have further refined an attack on the encryption standard frequently used to digitally sign documents, making the attack 64 times faster and leaving cryptographers to debate whether the standard, known as the Secure Hash Algorithm, should be phased out more quickly than planned.
  Storage and data encryption
  25th, August, 2005

Data security is a major concern for all CIOs. This has been addressed from access and identity controls through encrypting data in transmission through to securing data at rest, on disk or on tape.

The difference today is that threats are more sophisticated and business practices are more dependent on IT practices that span each organisation from individuals through to the data centre. The requirements for sound information governance include company practices, as well as financial reporting standards and legal issues, such as the Data Protection Act.
  Host Integrity Monitoring Using Osiris and Samhain
  22nd, August, 2005

Host integrity monitoring is the process by which system and network administrators validate and enforce the security of their systems. This can be a complex suite of approaches, tools, and methodologies, and it can be as simple as looking at loggin output. In the past, tools like Tripwire were used to check the configurations on hosts. The freeware version of this tool was limited in its manageability, which was available mainly in the commercial version.
  Why You Need To Add ‚ÄúProtect Domain Name‚Ä? To The Security Checklist
  25th, August, 2005

Domain name hijacking broadly refers to acts where a registered domain name is misused or stolen from the rightful name holder. A domain hijacking is a security risk many organizations overlook when they develop security policy and business continuity plans. While name holders can take measures to protect their domain names against theft and loss, many measures are not generally known.
  Linux/Unix e-mail flaw leaves system open to attack
  26th, August, 2005

Two serious security flaws have turned up in software widely distributed with Linux and Unix. The bugs affect Elm (Electronic Mail for Unix), a venerable e-mail client still used by many Linux and Unix sysadmins, and Mplayer, a cross-platform movie player that is one of the most popular of its kind on Linux. The Elm flaw involves a boundary error when the client reads an e-mail's "Expires" header. A specially crafted e-mail could exploit the bug to cause a buffer overflow and execute malicious code on a system, according to security researchers.
  Linux Kernel Denial of Service and IPsec Policy Bypass
  25th, August, 2005

Two vulnerabilities have been reported in the Linux kernel, which can be exploited by malicious, local users to cause a DoS (Denial of Service) or bypass certain security restrictions.
  Flexible, safe and secure?
  24th, August, 2005

This article looks beyond the hype of mobile working to consider some of the practical issues of an organisation implementing an ICT strategy that ensures data security wherever employees connect to corporate systems.
  Information Security in Campus and Open Environments
  23rd, August, 2005

This article is geared towards techies at libraries and schools and will attempt to address common security problems that may pop up at these institutions. The author gears the solutions towards Open Source, freeware, and base operating system security in a Windows XP/2k environment.
  Legal disassembly
  23rd, August, 2005

The question for security researchers going forward is modeled by the Lynn saga. Is it legal to decompile source code to find vulnerabilities? Of course, the answer is mixed. Maybe it is, maybe it's not.
  Be prepared to pay for security
  Banks Abandoning SSL On Home Page Log-Ins
  24th, August, 2005

Some of the biggest banks have abandoned the practice of posting their online account log-in screens on SSL-protected pages in an effort to boost page response time and guide users to more memorable URLs, a U.K. Web performance firm said Tuesday.

  The Real Problem of Linux: The Userbase?
  25th, August, 2005

True, a normal Linux installation and setting up basic internet access and email settings is proven to be equally easy under Windows as under Linux- if not easier under Linux. But I've been using Linux distributions for several years now, and I must say that for advanced problems it's harder to get things worked out under Linux.
  Industry Survey Shows SMBs Lack Minimal Security
  25th, August, 2005

Sean Stenovich often sees his small and midsize business clients pick and choose their security solutions based on what they think they need and can afford. The result is a security plan that covers some areas but leaves many others exposed, said Stenovich, a principal at Dallas security solutions provider M&S Technologies.
  Sarbanes-Oxley will be 2005's biggest time waster
  23rd, August, 2005

The Sarbanes-Oxley rules will be the biggest waste of IT resources for public companies this year, according to a poll of 444 US companies by IBM user group Share. Share polled those who were pre-registering for its Boston conference and asked people to imagine themselves transported to 2015 and looking back at 2005, and asked what they thought in retrospect would prove to be either an ineffective or wasteful use of their IT time.
  Hacker underground erupts in virtual turf wars
  24th, August, 2005

In the early days of computer attacks, when bright teens could bring down corporate systems, the point was often to trumpet a hacker's success. No longer. In today's murky world of digital viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, the idea is to stay quiet and use hijacked computers to flood the Internet with spam, spread destructive viruses, or disgorge e-mail to choke corporate systems. Not only can networks of these compromised computers be leased or sold, experts say, they are becoming more valuable as the number of vulnerable computers slowly shrinks.

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