A Wake-up Slap for Linux Administrators
eLABorations: New 'Slapper' worm shows the importance of diligent patchingyet againRight now is not a good time to try and run a secure commerce Web site, at least if youre a Web administrator who forgets to patch systems. On the heels of the late-summer discovery of security holes in both Apache and Microsofts Commerce Server, a new worm is cleverly exploiting a month-and-half-old security hole in the OpenSSL secure transactions application used by Apache and other Web servers. The Slapper worm, which specifically attacks Linux systems running Apache and is reportedly the first to use a peer-to-peer architecture to spread itself, has had little trouble finding unpatched systems to exploit (although compared to much more virulent worms such as Nimda, Slappers progress has been characterized as slow). This is despite the fact that a patch for the hole that Slapper exploits was made available the same day the hole was announced.
It used to be that Unix and Linux system administrators were much more likely to monitor, fix and patch their systems than were their Windows servers counterparts. Generally, they had a pretty good feel for the internal workings of their systems, since they had customized so much themselves.