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 Benchmarking Platform
Phoromatic Test Orchestration

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 Articles & Reviews
  1. AMD Radeon R9 290 OpenGL On Ubuntu 15.04: Catalyst vs. RadeonSI Gallium3D
  2. Ubuntu 15.04 Offers Faster OpenGL For AMD Radeon GPUs On Open-Source
  3. Ubuntu 15.04 Brings Some Graphics Performance Improvements For Intel Haswell
  4. Sub-$20 802.11n USB WiFi Adapter That's Linux Friendly
  5. The Lenovo T450s Is Working Beautifully With Linux
  6. Linux 4.0 SSD EXT4 / Btrfs / XFS / F2FS Benchmarks
Latest Linux News
  1. GTX 750 Maxwell Acceleration Starts Working On Nouveau With Linux 4.1
  2. Reasons To Make A PTS/OB Test Profile For Your Software
  3. Vivaldi TP3 Browser Adds Native Window Support On Linux
  4. A Brief Update On Fwupd For Linux Firmware Updating Of Devices
  5. Upgrading To KDE Plasma 5.3 On Kubuntu 15.04
  6. Ubuntu 15.10 Plans Being Discussed Next Week
  7. KDE Plasma 5.3 Released: Expands On Widgets, Bluetooth, PM
  8. Making It Easier To Deploy CUDA On Fedora
  9. GCC 4.9.2 vs. GCC 5 Benchmarks On An Intel Xeon Haswell
  10. Intel Haswell/Broadwell Power Use On Linux Still Moving Lower
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Ubuntu's Desktop-Next Switching From .DEBs To Snappy
  2. Systemd Kills Off Shutdownd
  3. KDBUS Still Hasn't Been Pulled, Might Not Land For Linux 4.1
  4. My Favorite Computer Desk Of The Past Decade For Less Than $100
  5. AMD Open-Sources "Addrlib" From Catalyst
  6. Qt Creator 3.4 Brings C++ Programming Improvements & More
  7. Debian 8.0 Jessie Is Ready For Release This Weekend
  8. GIMP's Porting To GTK3 Continues