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Article from Issue 196/2017

Red Hat Linux releases RHEL 6.9 Beta; SUSE working on a new operating system called MicroOS; Critical security holes found in PHP 7; New Android malware discovered; Serious bug found in Ubuntu.

Red Hat Releases RHEL 6.9 Beta

As the world moves from server-client to cloud-mobile, Red Hat is bringing cloud capabilities to one of the older releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Red Hat has released RHEL 6.9 Beta, which supports the next generation of cloud-native applications through an updated RHEL 6 base image.

Red Hat said in a press release, "The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9 Beta base image enables customers to migrate their existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 workloads into container-based applications – suitable for deployment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform."

Since RHEL subscriptions are not locked into any particular release, customers can easily upgrade their infrastructure from RHEL 6 to RHEL 6.9 at any given time.

From the security point of view, RHEL 6 adds TLS 1.2 support to the GnuTLS component, which allows customers to use RHEL 6 with future revisions of security standards that may require TLS 1.2 support.

RHEL 6.9 beta is available immediately for testing.

SUSE Working on a New Operating System Called MicroOS

Cloud and containers are the next frontier for Linux companies. Responding to Container OS, Project Atomic, and Snappy Core, SUSE is working on MicroOS. The new operating system by SUSE is based on SUSE Enterprise Linux and focuses on delivering microservices.

In an exclusive interview with The New Stack, SUSE's newly appointed CTO, Dr. Thomas Di Giacomo, said that it will help those customers who are running legacy systems but want to migrate to modern technologies over time. "We want to make sure that companies that have legacy infrastructure and legacy applications that can move to modern technologies, where container as a service is offered through that OS itself."

One of the core components of MicroOS is transactional updates, which use the snapshot capabilities of Btrfs. All updates will be installed automatically, and a reboot will switch the system to latest packages. If anything fails, it will roll back to the older working version. The beta version of the project is expected to be released in March; the final release is expected in June.

Critical Security Holes Found in PHP 7

IT security firm, Check Point, has found serious vulnerabilities in PHP 7. Check Point has analyzed the code of PHP 7 to look into any vulnerabilities, especially "the unserialize mechanism" that was heavily exploited in PHP 5 that compromised platforms like Magento, vBulletin, Drupal, Joomla, etc.

What they found was not encouraging, Check Point wrote in a blog post: "Throughout our investigation we discovered 3 fresh and previously unknown vulnerabilities (CVE-2016-7479, CVE-2016-7480, CVE-2016-7478) in the PHP 7 unserialize mechanism. These vulnerabilities can be exploited using a technique we've discussed back in August."

The first two vulnerabilities, according to Check Point, give attackers complete control over servers. The third can create a DoS (Denial of Service) attack, which exhausts the memory consumption of the target site and shuts it down.

The PHP team was informed of the vulnerabilities in August and September. The fix for two vulnerabilities was released on October 13 and December 1. Users are advised to ensure they are running the latest version of PHP.

Check Point has issued IPS signatures for these vulnerabilities to protect users from possible attacks.

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