Last week many news sites featured stories about a flaw in the Linux kernel which has been given the name Dirty COW. The bug in the kernel, which was quickly fixed with patches being rolled out to most GNU/Linux distributions, has existed for several years and was present in most Linux-based desktop, server and mobile operating systems, including Android. A skilled attacker can use the bug to elevate their access to that of the root user, giving them control of the operating system. Though the issue was wide spread, fixes are available for most distributions. The Linux.com website has an article which does a great job of explaining what Dirty COW is and how it works. The author also points out that for the Dirty COW exploit to work, the attacker needs to be already in a position to run code on an unpatched operating system in order to trigger the bug. For people who do not yet have access to the proper fix, Red Hat's Bugzilla database has workarounds which will prevent the bug from being exploited.
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