Hacking into Linux’s heart

    Date04 Jan 2004
    4368
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    A subtle hack that would've given those in the know complete root access to any Linux-based system was detected and removed within 24 hours, according to Linux creator Linus Torvalds. The affected code originated from an unprotected computer in a university lab, which itself had a Trojan horse "root kit" added after Linux was installed. . . . A subtle hack that would've given those in the know complete root access to any Linux-based system was detected and removed within 24 hours, according to Linux creator Linus Torvalds. The affected code originated from an unprotected computer in a university lab, which itself had a Trojan horse "root kit" added after Linux was installed.

    Open source advocates say the quick pick-up is proof of Eric S. Raymond's famous quote about open source: "Many eyes make all bugs shallow". Torvalds said the main reason the hack failed was that Linux development didn't use open code trees that could be modified by anyone. The change was made to a copy of the central code tree he manages directly.

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