Hack attacks on Linux sites rocket
by Pia Heikkila, © 2002 silicon.com All rights
Thursday, 18th July 2002 - And not just because there are more of
them... Attacks on Linux-based websites have risen dramatically over the past
year. A study by UK security consultancy mi2g found 7,630 attacks on
Linux systems during the first half of 2002 in comparison to just 5,736 for
the whole of 2001.
The report described the attacks as "overt hacking attacks", which include
website defacements and bulletin board modifications. The study did not include
any damage caused by worms, viruses or other malware.
The company claimed the reason for the sudden rise in the number of attacks
is threefold. D K Matai, CEO of mi2g, said: "The
number of machines running on Linux systems has increased a lot and so have
the attacks. Secondly the open source software running on top of Linux OS
is often vulnerable to attacks. And finally OS system admins have been slack
to pay attention to vulnerabilities. They have failed to patch the systems."
The report also found that attacks on Microsoft's IIS server dropped by
20 per cent during the first half of 2002 to 9,404, from 11,828 during the
same period last year.
Matai said: "Hackers always go for the low hanging
fruit - if it is easier to hack into open source systems, they will do it.
Those system admins running IIS are paying more attention to the vulnerabilities
because of the mass publicity last year."
mi2g's Security Intelligence Products and Systems (SIPS) database
has information on more than 6,000 hacker groups and maintains a record of
more than 60,000 individual hacking events.
Richard Hollis, managing director of security consultancy Orthus, said the
number of Linux hacking tools has risen sharply too.
He said: "The rise in attacks on Linux servers
is only due in part to the rise in popularity of them. It's a chicken-or-the-egg
type of statistic. I would sooner credit the increase to the growing number
of Linux hacking tools available over the web. Everyday there is a new one
available for virtually every flavor of Linux.
"The tools are becoming increasingly easier
to use and the companies are experiencing the results of this fact."