What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Bugs
While it is fun to pick on Microsoft about the love bug virus, those of us in the Linux community should ask ourselves: are we clean? The answer is: not at all. We are just a combination of not having a high enough visibility and pure luck. The visibility issue has to do with the fact that if you are going to write a virus, then writing it for MS-Windows is the best target. There are just more of those systems out there.
The other part of the story is that the average MS-Windows user doesn't know what a computer is. The average MS-Windows user just knows that he or she can write letters and, most importantly, do e-mail. Their MS-Windows system is configured so that the type of e-mail attachment is identified and the appropriate action is taken. One choice may be to execute a program that is written, say, in Visual Basic.
Now, let's say that Linux has won the desktop war, thus making Linux the best (as in most popular) target for viruses. And, just to make things a little better (or more portable), let's say all those users have their systems configured so that attachments in Java are executed automatically.
Would it take a lot of work to find everything that looked like an e-mail address in the user's mail or Mail subdirectory? How about removing all files in their home directory and subdirectories that ended with .jpg and .gif? I think not.
We are being so smug talking about systems being secure because we have user IDs and file permissions, because sendmail can screen messages and so forth. Well, we can be secure, but at the cost of making it harder for users to do their work. We could--and probably should--make every user manually deal with attachments. We could configure sendmail to screen incoming mail for various patterns. We could do a lot of things.
Fundamentally, what happened with the love bug virus was that MS-Windows systems were configured to offer insecure capabilities to its users. Specifically, the ability to point and click to execute code. If, even using the mime.types file, the average Linux desktop was configured to execute a program (Java, Tcl, binary ...), the Linux system is in the same situation.
If Linux was the #1 desktop, then Linux would become the optimal target for such a virus. Why write something that could only attack 1% of the computers available when, with the same effort, you could make it attack-capable on 90%?
We could brag about running as a user vs. root, but again, that wasn't an issue. This virus looked in the user's address book (something that Pine, Elm and Mutt all have) and deleted files in the user's directory.
We are Linux people. If we succeed in world domination, we will be the target. Clearly, it is time for us to work on some innovation.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
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- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Returning Values from Bash Functions
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide