Linux in the security crosshairs

Monday, 15 December 2003, 1:18 PM EST

Compared to Windows, Linux has enjoyed a reputation as a stable and secure operating systems, thanks in large part to an enthusiastic open source community that plugs holes before they create problems.

But Linux's growing popularity is attracting unwanted attention from virus writers, script kiddies and other criminal elements. In response, Linux advocates are putting a new emphasis on security measures and working to reassure companies that the OS is ready for important business networks.

"There has been a lot of change in the attractiveness of Linux as a target," said Chad Dougherty, an Internet security analyst at the CERT Coordination Center, which tracks OS vulnerabilities. "If you look over time, there has been a consistent level of vulnerabilities."

In recent weeks, two high-profile breaches at popular Linux concerns bear this out. First, the Debian Project had to take their servers down to clean out a remote vulnerability breach. Then, machines at Gentoo were compromised.

[ Read more ]

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