University Banned From Contributing To Linux Kernel For Intentionally Inserting Bugs

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 21 April 2021 at 07:48 AM EDT. 117 Comments
Greg Kroah-Hartman has banned a US university from trying to mainline Linux kernel patches over intentionally submitting questionable code with security implications and other "experiments" in the name of research.

Stemming from this research paper where researchers from the University of Minnesota intentionally worked to stealthy introduce vulnerabilities into the mainline Linux kernel. They intentionally introduced use-after-free bugs into the kernel covertly for their research paper.

But even after this paper, there has been a new round of patches from University of Minnesota researchers that claim to come from "a new static analyzer" but without any real value to the patches. These new, questionable patches don't appear to have any real value -- for good or bad -- and at the very least are just wasting time by upstream developers. This has led Greg to calling them out and "banning" them from trying to contribute to the Linux kernel in the future.

Greg wrote this morning on the kernel mailing list, "[These new patches] obviously were _NOT_ created by a static analysis tool that is of any intelligence, as they all are the result of totally different patterns, and all of which are obviously not even fixing anything at all. So what am I supposed to think here, other than that you and your group are continuing to experiment on the kernel community developers by sending such nonsense patches?...A few minutes with anyone with the semblance of knowledge of C can see that your submissions do NOT do anything at all, so to think that a tool created them, and then that you thought they were a valid "fix" is totally negligent on your part, not ours. You are the one at fault, it is not our job to be the test subjects of a tool you create...Because of this, I will now have to ban all future contributions from your University and rip out your previous contributions, as they were obviously submitted in bad-faith with the intent to cause problems."

So those from the University of Minnesota are no longer welcome to contribute to the upstream Linux kernel development.

In a follow up message is indeed confirmation that the prior University of Minnesota patches to the Linux kernel are going to be reverted.
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