Linux under threat from 'security update'

Linux under threat from 'security update'

Summary: A piece of malware masquerading as an official security update for Red Hat Linux has been reported in the wild for the first time

TOPICS: Security

Linux maker Red Hat is warning users about an email that pretends to be an official security advisory but is actually a phishing-type scam that contains links to malicious code.

The fake email appears to have been sent from "" and was first spotted on Friday evening with a subject line: "RedHat: Buffer Overflow in 'ls' and 'mkdir'".

The email contains instructions on how to load and install a 'patch', which Red Hat warns is likely to contain malicious code.

Red Hat said its official security messages are sent from and are digitally signed.

According to the company's Web site: "All official updates for Red Hat products are digitally signed and should not be installed unless they are correctly signed and the signature is verified."

Windows users have been successfully targeted a number of times with malware disguised as a fake 'security update'.

One of the most successful worms of 2003, Swen or Gibe.F, was disguised as a Microsoft patch to fix a flaw in Internet Explorer.

Less than four months later the tactic was tried again, but this time the Xombe or Trojan.Xombe worm, posed as a critical update for Windows XP.

The most recent attempt to fool Windows users was the Sober.D worm that masqueraded as a fix for the MyDoom worm.

Munir Kotadia reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.

Topic: Security

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • Amazing how you need to bring Windows into the article when it's Linux that's the problem.

    Linux suffers from equally the same amount of issues with secure coding practices, it's just the market share that is small.

    So "Successful" is based on the market share of the target platform.
  • Oh get real! If we are looking at market share being proportional to the vunerabilities in the system, how do you explain that the number of Linux vunerabilities is about 0.001% of the number of Windows/MS vunerabilities, when Linux has probably got between 1-5% of the market share?

    Linux IS more secure because ANYONE can EXAMINE the source code and MODIFY that code. Millions examine the Linux code, thousands examine the MS code. Why would thousands be better than millions?

    I hate explaining the Open Source model to people who have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the Microsoft FUD machine...
  • Why are open source partisans always so petty when it comes to the Linux Vs. Windows argument?

    I mean it's always a case of "Linux is sooo much better. Linux is soooo secure" et cetera.

    But the questions still remains: If Linux is so superior to windows and it's free why isn't it dominant?