1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Linux Desktop Security Could Be A Whole Lot Better

X.Org

Published on 23 May 2013 09:38 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org
40 Comments

The security researcher that uncovered a host of X.Org security issues went beyond just evaluating the X.Org libraries and looked at other Linux desktop packages too. There's many security-related bugs outstanding within the Linux desktop ecosystem and Ilja van Sprundel believes "things could be better by several orders of magnitude."

After pointing out the X.Org security issues publicly this morning, Alan Coopersmith noted a presentation done by Ilja van Sprundel, the developer that uncovered these issues and is the Director of Penetration Testing at IOActive. The presentation (74 page PPT) was presented at CanSecWest about the Linux desktop security.

Sprundel formerly used Linux full-time but for the past several years converted back to Windows for business reasons and has just been a sporadic Linux user until his recent evaluation atop Ubuntu Linux, among other distributions.

Not all of the specific bugs for the multiple security vulnerabilities he discovered were disclosed, since not all of the problems have been fixed yet by their upstream projects. However, he's come across world-writable shared memory issues, world-writable scripts, bloated suid binaries, misconfigurations, and over 60 finds in total in about one week of tinkering with the Linux desktop.

Potential security holes were also uncovered in DBus and plenty of other standard Linux desktop libraries as potential attack points. Problems were also uncovered for KDE/Qt as well as GNOME/GTK+ components, including LightDM and other Xlib users. Holes are also believed to exist within package managers and the clipboard too.

While not all of the details were shared publicly, Ilja van Sprundel did recommend using dietlibc or uClibc over glibc, which he found to be "super bloated" yet the default for most Linux distributions.

Beyond feeling the Linux desktop security could be several orders of magnitude better, Ilja feels that there's really a lot of work to do that's left to address these issues. Most of the cited sited "is not written with a trust boundary in mind."

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. MSI X99S SLI PLUS On Linux
  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Offers Great Linux Performance
  3. CompuLab Intense-PC2: An Excellent, Fanless, Mini PC Powered By Intel's i7 Haswell
  4. From The Atom 330 To Haswell ULT: Intel Linux Performance Benchmarks
Latest Linux Articles
  1. RunAbove: A POWER8 Compute Cloud With Offerings Up To 176 Threads
  2. 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Linux Desktop Benchmarks
  3. Ubuntu 14.10 XMir System Compositor Benchmarks
  4. Btrfs RAID HDD Testing On Ubuntu Linux 14.10
Latest Linux News
  1. Fedora 21 Beta & Final Release Slip Further
  2. Mesa 10.3.2 Has A Couple Bug-Fixes
  3. RadeonSI/R600g HyperZ Support Gets Turned Back On
  4. openSUSE Factory & Tumbleweed Are Merging
  5. More Fedora Delays: Fedora 21 Beta Slips
  6. Mono Brings C# To The Unreal Engine 4
  7. Coreboot Now Has Support For Intel Broadwell Hardware
  8. Enlightenment's EFL 1.12 Alpha Has Evas GL-DRM Engine, OpenGL ES 1.1 Support
  9. GTK+ Lands Experimental Backend For Mir Display Server
  10. Ubuntu 14.10 Officially Released
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. AMD Radeon VDPAU Video Performance With Gallium3D
  2. HOPE: The Ease Of Python With The Speed Of C++
  3. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  4. Ubuntu 16.04 Might Be The Distribution's Last 32-Bit Release
  5. Linux hacker compares Solaris kernel code:
  6. Advertisements On Phoronix
  7. Users/Developers Threatening Fork Of Debian GNU/Linux
  8. AMD Releases UVD Video Decode Support For R600 GPUs