Like most mainstream operating systems these days, fully patched installations of Linux provide a level of security that requires a fair amount of malicious hacking to overcome. Those assurances can be completely undone by a single unpatched application, as Andre' DiMino has demonstrated when he documented an Ubuntu machine in his lab being converted into a Bitcoin-mining, denial-of-service-spewing, vulnerability-exploiting hostage under the control of attackers.
Microsoft is caught in a monkey-trap, created by cloud computing and Free Software, coupled with short-term thinking and a dose of not-invented-here syndrome.
Symantec has stumbled across a worm that exploits various vulnerabilities in PHP to infect Intel x86-powered Linux devices. The security biz says the malware threatens to compromise home broadband routers and similar equipment.
However, home internet kit with x86 chips are few and far between – most network-connected embedded devices are powered by ARM or MIPS processors – so the threat seems almost non-existent.
Linux operating system creator Linus Torvalds has proposed that Linux 4.0, an upcoming release of the open-source software, should be dedicated to stability and bug fixing.
Although his initial reaction to a suggestion for a separate bug-fixing release from Dirk Hohndel, chief Linux and open source technologist at Intel, was to criticize it, as "I didn't see most of us having the attention span required for that," Torvalds is now asking for comments on a proposal to have Linux 4.0 as the bug-fix release in about a year's time.
Linux is a common operating system, not least in its Android version, and it is universally assumed that a PC (or whatever “IBM compatible” is called these days) will be able to run it. In fact, machines that can’t run Linux are extremely rare since aficionados keep porting the open-source operating system to even the most obscure and outdated machine families.