Linux Gets Fix for Code-Execution Flaw that Went Unpatched Since 2009

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Maintainers of the Linux kernel have patched one of the more serious security bugs to be disclosed in the open source operating system in recent months. The five-year-old code-execution hole leaves computers used in shared Web hosting services particularly vulnerable, so users and administrators should make sure systems are running updated versions that contain a fix.

The memory-corruption vulnerability, which was introduced in version 2.6.31-rc3, released no later than 2009, allows unprivileged users to crash or execute malicious code on vulnerable systems, according to the notes accompanying proof-of-concept code available here. The flaw resides in the n_tty_write function controlling the Linux pseudo tty device.

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