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LinuxProgramming.com: Editor's Comment: The Ramen Worm: Opportunity Knocks

Jan 21, 2001, 17:14 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lou Grinzo)

"Call me hopelessly optimistic if you like, but I'm one of those people who sees problems as nothing more than opportunities in really bad packaging. And few such opportunities are as clear as the one presented by the Ramen Worm."

"In case you haven't seen the news, the Ramen Worm is a rather insidious virtual creature that's propagating itself around the Internet and making life ever so much more interesting for server admins whose systems are running Red Hat Linux 6.2 and 7.0 without some of the available security patches."

"First, let's get one of the more obvious things out of the way: It's been known for a long time that Windows was an astonishingly fertile breeding ground for such binary shenanigans, because 1) it was all over the planet, 2) [diplomacy] security has never been Microsoft's highest priority [/diplomacy], and 3) server admins have been notoriously lax in applying Service Packs or taking other minimal steps to secure their systems. Result: Viruses, worms, and Trojans, oh my!"

"Now that Linux is widely recognized as a major presence on servers, and one flavor, Red Hat, has a sizable chunk of that market, it's also become a juicy target for the script kiddies and other misanthropic cybervandals. (Which brings up the tangential question: If you were ruler of the world, what punishment would you deal out to people who do such things, once they were proven to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? No computer use for five years? Lop off the first two fingers on their mousing hand? Restrict them to a 300 baud dial-up line for life?) If anything, we should expect that Ramen is just one of many more such attacks and attempted attacks to come; it's sad but becoming a target is part of the price you pay in this industry for being successful."

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