By Chris Williams and John Leyden
14th February 2008
A major security vulnerability in the Linux kernel, which was revealed
on Sunday, has claimed its first confirmed UK victim in business ISP
Hackers used a bug in the sys_vmsplice kernel call, which handles
virtual memory management, to gain root privileges and replace Claranet
customers' index.html files with the hacker's calling card.
The exploit was noticed at about 6pm on Tuesday.
Claranet said: "Malicious activity related to the vulnerability was
detected on Claranet's shared hosting platform. Within 10 minutes
Claranet contained and halted the malicious activity, and locked down
the platform to prevent further damage.
"The shared hosting platform was fully patched with the vendor's updates
by 10am on Wednesday. Less than one per cent of the total web sites
hosted on the Claranet platform were affected and all were restored to
their original states by 1pm on Wednesday 13 February."
The (potentially tricky) hacking process was dumbed down by the
publication of exploit code earlier this week, Linux-Watch notes.
Security notification firm Secunia reports that switching to either
version 22.214.171.124 or 126.96.36.199 of the Linux kernel guards against attack.
Hotfixes designed to plug the vulnerability short of upgrading the
kernel have also been released.
The affected system call first appeared in version 2.6.17 of the Linux
kernel, but wasn't left open to exploit until changes were made with the
Linux vendors are working on a permanent fix for the problem. Claranet
emphasised that it keeps a close eye on announcements of new
vulnerabilities and acts swiftly to patch them.
Subscribe to InfoSec News