Suspect Arrested for 5-Year-Old Linux Kernel Organization Breach
The alleged attacker behind the 2011 breach of kernel.org is arrested as details on the actual attack now emerge.In September 2011, news first broke that the kernel.org site that hosts the core development infrastructure behind the Linux kernel was breached. For the last five years, few facts about the attack have been revealed and the attacker remained at large—that is, until he was picked during a traffic stop in Miami on Aug. 28. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California issued a release on Sept. 1 announcing the arrest of 27-year-old Donald Ryan Austin in connection with the kernel.org attack. Austin is being charged in a four-count indictment in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Austin appeared in a federal court in Miami on Aug. 29 and was released on $50,000 bail on Sept. 1. He is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 21. "If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of ten years of imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A)," the Justice Department stated. The attack against kernel.org occurred between Aug. 12, 2011, and Sept. 1, 2011, and involved a breach of at least four servers. According to the indictment, Austin made use of a pair of hacking tools to gain access to kernel.org. The tools he used included the Phalanx rootkit, which helped to enable unauthorized backdoor access to kernel.org servers. In addition, the attack made use of the Ebury Trojan, which was used to collect the SSH (Secure Shell) credentials of users who logged into infected servers.
"The Ebury trojan collected the credentials and transmitted them over the internet to an outside computer controlled by the person who installed the malicious software," the indictment states.