Software bug threatens select Linux systems

A flaw in the Netfilter firewall component of various versions of the Linux kernel could put systems running the open-source operating system at risk, experts warned this week.

A bug in part of the Netfilter system could result in unwanted ports for inbound traffic being opened on the firewall, effectively opening the door for hackers, according to a warning issued by the Netfilter team earlier this week. The flawed part of the system is meant to monitor chat requests sent and received on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network.

Netfilter is part of all Linux kernels from versions 2.4.14 to 2.1.18-pre8, according to the Netfilter statement. Red Hat, one of the largest Linux vendors, said in an alert that Red Hat Linux versions 7.1 and 7.2 are vulnerable, but noted that the flawed IRC connection-tracking component of Netfilter is not used in default installations.

Both Netfilter and Red Hat have patches available to fix the flaw.

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