February 26th, 2006, 12:02 AM
Ignore the Linux worm hype, say security vendors
Media reports circulating about the threat posed by a Linux worm called Mare.D have been written off as little more than the result of a "slow news week" by one leading antivirus expert.
A worm that tries to find exploits over a year old??????? This is on an OS where you only need to reboot for Kernel patches..... Looking at the Slackware.com security patches, for 10.0 10.1 and 10.2 there hasn't even BEEN a Kernel patch.
The stories stemmed from a fairly innocuous warning on F-Secure's blog about the virus which is targeting open source vulnerabilities, known about since last year, and the risk of infection is believed to be negligible.
As such other security companies have told Silicon.com they are baffled by the media coverage the worm has attracted.
But even F-Secure is confused as to how a run-of-the-mill blog posting has turned into a news story.
Richard Hales, country manager at F-Secure, told Silicon.com: "I don't know why anybody has picked up on this anymore than they normally would. Our blog is there for commenting on everything from whether the chips were cold at a conference to reporting the latest variant of a worm. But if it's something serious we'd put out a warning and we'd issue a press release.
"Perhaps because this had 'Linux' in the title it attracted a bit more interest."
He said: "It does seem very odd to me to highlight a vector that is a year old and is very likely patched in production systems."
Russ Cooper, senior information security analyst at CyberTrust, went further, suggesting the media is simply trying to "work up a lather among communities which don't normally buy antivirus software". He was referring to the fact a Linux worm might be seen as more newsworthy even if "there are no reports in the wild".
Cooper added: "It must be a slow news week."
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, agreed. He confirmed his company had seen no reports of the virus and suggested novelty factor, rather than genuine threat may be behind the story.
Cluley told Silicon.com: "At the moment, malware for all kinds of non-Microsoft platforms are making the news because of their novelty value I think. It's important that people who don't use Microsoft Windows realise that attacks do happen on other OSes but it's also important to keep these things in perspective."
He added: "The problem is huge on Windows with 120,000-plus pieces of malware that figure is humongous compared to Macintosh, Unix and so on."