SourceForge dumps Anonymous-OS

Summary:The controversial Anonymous-OS has been removed from SourceForge after the hosting platform questioned the transparency of the project and stated that users could be at risk by downloading it.

The controversial Anonymous-OS has been removed from SourceForge after the hosting platform questioned the transparency of the project and stated that users could be at risk by downloading it.

The organisation stated that it had initially allowed the operating system to be hosted, but that it now thought the name had been misleading.

"By taking an intentionally misleading name, this project has attempted to capitalise on the press surrounding a well-known movement in order to push downloads of a project that is less than a week old," SourceForge wrote on its blog.

SourceForge decided to pull the project after learning from a BBC article that the operating system represented a security risk and was not simply a distribution of security tools.

Furthermore, SourceForge stated that the project wasn't in line with the values of the open-source community due to its lack of transparency.

"It is critical that security-related software be completely open to peer review (ie, by providing source code), so that risks may be assessed along with benefits. That is not available in this case, and the result is that people are taking a substantial risk in downloading and installing this distribution."

However, SourceForge wasn't ruling out that the operating system could be legitimate and that it may have made a mistake.

"We are always at risk of making a judgment about a project that looks malicious, and isn't. We don't want to forfeit the trust of the developer community in exchange for the trust of the user community, or vice versa. It's a tightrope we must walk every time we encounter a project that seems a little suspicious.

"We believe that this is the right decision in this case, but will continue to dig into it, to ensure that we've gone in the right direction."

Although various Twitter accounts are claiming that the operating system has been wrapped in trojans and has backdoors installed, there have been no verifiable claims of infections as yet. The experts in the BBC article that SourceForge references do not come to a conclusion as to whether any malicious software exists. However, SourceForge does warn users to exercise caution, and tweets warning about the operating system are vague, not including the name of any alleged malware.

The creator of the distribution has since responded to these allegations:

Please people ... in our world, in Linux and open-source world, there is not virus.

If any user believe that Anonymous-OS 'is wrapped in trojans' or 'backdoored OS by any law enforcement company or hacker' please don't download it!

But don't mislead the world that Linux is dangerous and has trojans!

In addition, the operating system's creator has posted a log from Rootkit Hunter, which attempts to scan for known rootkits and backdoors. Assuming that none of the results have been doctored, it gives the operating system a clean bill of health.

Whether or not the rumours about the operating system are true, many Anonymous members have distanced themselves from it and continue to advise others to do the same.

Topics: Open Source, Security

About

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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