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Open Source Security Software Linux IT News

USB Autorun Attacks Against Linux 274

Orome1 writes "Many people think that Linux is immune to the type of Autorun attacks that have plagued Windows systems with malware over the years. However, there have been many advances in the usability of Linux as a desktop OS — including the addition of features that can allow Autorun attacks. This Shmoocon presentation by Jon Larimer from IBM X-Force starts off with a definition of autorun vulnerabilities and some examples from Windows, then jumps straight into the Linux side of things. Larimer explains how attackers can abuse these features to gain access to a live system by using a USB flash drive. He also shows how USB as an exploitation platform can allow for easy bypass of protection mechanisms like ASLR and how these attacks can provide a level of access that other physical attack methods do not." I've attached the video if you are curious. Skip the first 2 minutes if you don't care where the lost and found is.

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USB Autorun Attacks Against Linux

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  • by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:03PM (#35128246) Journal
    I always knew that when they made *nix idiot-proof all hell would break loose security-wise. Android has proven that really thoroughly. It's too bad, really. I had high hopes for it once. Maybe they'll get it together yet though.
  • Autorun ist stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:31PM (#35128592)

    Doesn't depend on platform. Autorun is always a huge security risk. It was invented for lazy users that do not want to know how to use their computer properly. At this time (and for the foreseeable future) this kind of laziness comes at a price and that is vulnerability to rather simple to execute attacks.

    The real benefit of Linux here is that, unlike Windows, you can get distributions that would not dream of implementing something as stupid as autorun. On others, you can reliably turn it off reliably without a cryptic adventure through the mess called the "registry". But implementing insecure features will of course make Linux insecure. Nobody sane debates that.

  • by doperative ( 1958782 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @03:52PM (#35129444)

    Anyone care to post a demo of this Linux autorun vulnerability, one that will compromise my system by inserting a USB device, and with no user confirmation required, and doesn't prompt for the root password ..

  • by Stellian ( 673475 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:44PM (#35129946)

    There is no autorun, mount, and execute set up upon device identification for my system.

    Disabling auto-mount is pointless, you will eventually mount that USB device - why else would you plug it in ? 95% of the Slashdot population will plug and mount a stick received in the mail with the caption "You need to see this".
    Before you even have the option of mounting, the attacker has an enormous attack surface, by suppling it's own USB device ID: he can exploit the drivers for any of the myriad mouses, keyboards, cameras etc. that Linux supports by default, and gain kernel access. You will simply see his custom hardware device as a defective USB stick and forget about it.
    If the USB device actually turns out to be a flash drive, it can be formated using any file system supported by Linux: ext, FAT, NTFS etc. Each of the drivers have exotic and seldom used features that can hide bugs. Sure, you can do allot by limiting idiotic features in your GUI tools, but a lot of the security is out of your hands.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun