The most common open operating systems are often seen, and not without its reasons, as a good option for companies. Unlike Windows, installation is free or costs very little and they do not need constant upgrading.
Another benefit is security. Viruses often target Windows computers and there is no place for them on devices running this software. Therefore, many IT departments choose open operating systems. However, despite their many strong points, they are not immune (if anyone thought otherwise).
2014 was not a good year for Linux. During the year, different types of malware and vulnerabilities affecting this software were detected, ending its reputation as unbreachable and giving its followers something else to worry about; from now on, they will have to pay more attention to the security of their computers.
One of these concerns comes in the form of Turla, malicious software that is also known as Snake or Ouroboros. It is believed to have come from Russia but it has been infecting Windows computers worldwide for years. Recently, a version of this Trojan targeting Linux was also detected.
Turla uses a backdoor to give cyber-criminals access to the computer, as if they were just another user, without needing to use the ‘root’ account (the account that has all rights and permissions). As a result, the restrictions that the operating system puts on this type of entry are bypassed.
Home users, in principle, do not need to worry, but the same does not apply to companies. Those who use the aforementioned malware usually do so for corporate espionage or surveillance, not for stealing credit card numbers.
In addition, X.org, a server on which open-source graphic interfaces can be run (including Linux), is also vulnerable. Several vulnerabilities have been published that make its users an easy target for cybercriminals.
Another security flaw that has been on the operating system for years is Shellshock, which does not affect Windows. The bug lies in the program that parses the open software commands (Bash). When a Linux device connects to an insecure Wi-Fi network, this window allows a Trojan to get into the device without any problems. Fortunately, the security patches released have fixed the hole.
But security flaws and malware are not the only headaches of open operating system users. It is not always easy to get the security patches prepared by developers. Whereas access to modifications to search engines and other important programs is guaranteed, the same does not occur with other components.
An example is what happened with Owncloud, an application for storing files online in open format (an alternative to the well-known Dropbox). When installed under Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions, it did not execute any security updates. The developer had stopped working on the tool, leaving it at the mercy of cyber-criminals.
Something similar happens with other open-source programs that are not widely used or distributed, such as the user interface Manjaro, which has not received any security modification for a long time either.
Do you use Linux at home or on your computer at work?