An ancient Linux vulnerability has made its way back to the Linux ecosystem and it’s threatening everyone as it gives some special privileges to the particular malicious coding to do the unwanted. The virus was patched long ago but it was again re patched by some hackers to make it live again. It was named as “Dirty COW” 9 years ago and before that it was just an another vulnerability. More precisely it is referred to as CVE-2016-5195.
Why Dirty COW?
The term Dirty COW doesn’t represent a living being but it is referred to as because of the ability of the vulnerability to break the copy-on-write (COW) memory system in Linux Kernal.
The researchers who found out this vulnerablity 11 years ago wrote on their website for the same, “A race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel’s memory subsystem handled the copy-on-write (COW) breakage of private read-only memory mappings. An unprivileged local user could use this flaw to gain write access to otherwise read-only memory mappings and thus increase their privileges on the system.”
Basically this virus allows the user to write over every file he/she can view normally, including the system files which if overwritten can malfunction the whole of the system.
This is the only reason of naming the vulnerability as “Dirty COW”.
The particular virus was “said to be” patched 11 years ago by Linus Torvalds, who is the creator of the operating system software but his fixes were re-patched by illicit personalities for their own use and now this news has been unveiled after these many years.
Since the bug is present in the Linux kernel itself, it will be obviously present in every version of Linux, meaning that your current Linux and even Android installation (to be precise) is very likely to be vulnerable.
Tip: If you see an official security update on your device which is generally of fewer than 100 MB then surely do that because companies are releasing patches for their particular operating system after this news leaked out.