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IT News
‘GHOST’ In The Machine?
January 29, 2015


A widely used component of most Linux distribution has been found to have a highly vulnerability.  It was discovered in the GNU C Library (glibc), a widely used component of most Linux distributions.  It allows cyber criminals to execute malicious code on servers and gain control of Linux machines.  This flaw has been called “GHOST” and was discovered by a security firm, Qualys in California, USA.

GHOST is said to be as critical as Heartbleed and Shellshock that was discovered last year.  It allows attackers to gain control of a targeted Linux system without raising any suspicion.  The attackers do not need to have any prior knowledge of system credentials such as administrative passwords.

The vulnerability is said to affect versions of glibc since version 2.2 which was released in 2000.

“Unfortunately, it was not recognized as a security threat; as a result, most stable and long-term-support distributions were left exposed (and still are): Debian 7 (wheezy), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 & 7, CentOS 6 & 7, Ubuntu 12.04, for example,” researchers from Qualys said.

Fortunately, major distributors of Linux operating systems such as Red Hat, Debian and Ubuntu updated their software on Tuesday to prevent any expected threats. To update the systems, core functions or the entire affected server reboot is required.

Users are advice to update their systems as soon as possible to mitigate any potential risks.


  1. Heartbleed – it’s not a virus, but a bug.  It is a vulnerability that resided in Transport Layer Security (TLS) heartbeat mechanism built into certain versions of open source encryption standard OpenSSL.  It allows attackers to read portions of the affected server’s memory, revealing users data that was not meant to be revealed.
  2. Shellshock – a critically exploitable vulnerability, which affects most of the Linux distributions and servers worldwide.