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Thread: Does Linux have a back door?

  1. #1
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    Default Does Linux have a back door?

    I recently had a discussion with a director at Microsoft. This person indicated that all servers, including those that are Linux based, have a back door so that various intelligence agencies can monitor Internet data exchange. My guess is that this person was merely speculating on the existence of a back door for Windows and Linux based servers.

    Microsoft has long denied that a back door exists. However, few would be surprised if it turned out that Windows actually has a back door. What about Linux? Does Linux have a back door?
    The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
    Daniel J. Boorstin US Patent Office

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    Why not look at the code and see for yourself if there is one? If not, feel free to put a backdoor in your own copy.

    Hint: With so many people with access to the open source code and so many different attitudes, you would think the existence of one would have been outed by now, don't you think?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    Parthenolide wrote:

    >
    > Microsoft has long denied that a back door exists. However, few would
    > be surprised if it turned out that Windows actually has a back door.
    > What about Linux? Does Linux have a back door?
    >

    This is not a yes or no answer I can give you.
    The main difference between MS Windows and GNU/Linux is that you can inspect
    the source code for your linux installation if there is a backdoor. I know
    that this is a pure theoretical thing insofar as most people cannot do this
    because it is a lot of code and not everyone is a programmer. But thousands
    and more programmers world wide look regularly into that code and it is very
    unlikely that all of them are part of a conspiracy and do not make it public
    if they find one.
    In the worst and paranoid case that one does not even trust the distributor
    of the linux in use one can compile everything including the kernel from
    scratch deactivating everything which might be suspect. It's open source
    (and free) that's a big difference her, since nobody can hide something.



  4. #4

    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    Yes it does, but I can't tell you what it is.

    Otherwise my agen^Worganization has to kill you afterwards.


    (SCNR)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    If there were a back door, in the sense that someone could "telnet" into a machine, it would leave a trail of some sort. A simple sniffer would catch the activity on a port, and trigger an investigation by the admins.

    I have had occasion to use the "toor" account to get into a FreeBSD server, when "root" was unusable. (I don't remember why) I don't think that's the back door in question.
    Box: Home Built | Intel Core2 @2.4 GHz | 6 GB | OpenSUSE 11.4| KDE 4.6.0 r6| nVidia GeForce 7300 GT

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    i would be very surprised if Windows didn't have a back door, either
    built in by MS at the insistence of the NSA, or by NSA infiltrators
    into the MS world..

    the same for intel processors..

    both are US companies and subject to US law and (well, MS got out of
    hot water with the Justice Department seemingly easy to me--i wonder
    if they gave the feds a back door to get a slap on the wrist for their
    monopoly practices)...and, intel has been getting away with some less
    than wonderful actions also..

    i'd guess that there are similar attempts to build vulnerabilities
    into Linux, but as others have mentioned there are thousands of folks
    around the earth who do NOT want _any_ government agency walking in an
    open door...front, back or side...so i'd guess if you wanna try to
    avoid government snoops your best choice is an open source, and non-MS
    system..

    --
    DenverD
    When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
    CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD [posted via NNTP w/openSUSE 10.3]

  7. #7

    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    NSA contributed code to Linux as well as Windows and other operating systems. I wouldn't worry about it too much. NSA actually has quite a lot of good security guidance on their site, although some of it needs updating.

    For discussion see Anatomy of Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    On Tue, 05 Oct 2010 14:06:02 +0000, Parthenolide wrote:

    > I recently had a discussion with a director at Microsoft. This person
    > indicated that all servers, including those that are Linux based, have a
    > back door so that various intelligence agencies can monitor Internet
    > data exchange. My guess is that this person was merely speculating on
    > the existence of a back door for Windows and Linux based servers.


    "Back door" claims would undoubtably be FUD, since having such a secret
    would require all of the independent kernel developers to not notice it
    in the code. Possible? Sure, since not all developers review all lines
    of code in the kernel. But I'd find it incredibly unlikely.

    Jim



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    openSUSE Forums Administrator
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    I think there might be an obligation onto the software businesses to have a backdoor in place. Years ago MS and Lotus had admited (to a certain degree)*. Linux on the other hand can be modified and its not closed.
    The backdoor issue is taking an upwind especially with terrorist concerns to infiltrate a pc that might belong to a suspicious person or organization.
    Just in my judgement i think with linux you are on a safer side. But the argument to look into the code is laughable. Yes, theoretically you can but how long will it take you (or any normal person) to see if there is backdoor in a code.
    Your only hope is, that the community says there is none.

    * [no citation at the moment]
    +++ ATH0

    . . . . . . . .
    LOGOFF COMPLETE

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Does Linux have a back door?

    Jim Henderson wrote:

    > On Tue, 05 Oct 2010 14:06:02 +0000, Parthenolide wrote:
    >
    >> I recently had a discussion with a director at Microsoft. This person
    >> indicated that all servers, including those that are Linux based, have a
    >> back door so that various intelligence agencies can monitor Internet
    >> data exchange. My guess is that this person was merely speculating on
    >> the existence of a back door for Windows and Linux based servers.

    >
    > "Back door" claims would undoubtably be FUD, since having such a secret
    > would require all of the independent kernel developers to not notice it
    > in the code. Possible? Sure, since not all developers review all lines
    > of code in the kernel. But I'd find it incredibly unlikely



    My favorite are those that believe that your computer can be tapped into via
    the power cord. Only if you don't have the Magic Strip power strip of
    course!! Act now and you can get two for $19.95.



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