Article from Issue 234/2020

In the news: Zorin OS 15.2 Now Available; Firefox to Get an Additional Sandbox Layer; Microsoft Defender ATP is Coming to Linux; South Korean Government Considers Move to Linux Desktop; OpenSSH Now Supports FIDO/U2F Security Keys; and System76 Launches New AMD Threadripper Machine.

Zorin OS 15.2 Now Available

The latest iteration of Zorin OS has arrived. Version 15.2 is now available, which focuses on software bugs, security, and expanded hardware compatibility. This newest version might also serve as the last release until the developers of Zorin OS unleash their upcoming Zorin Grid, which gives admins the ability to manage massive desktop rollouts from a web-based dashboard.

Since the last release of Zorin OS (Summer of 2019), the OS has been downloaded over 900,000 times and has been included in numerous "best of" lists for desktop distributions. So this latest version should be seen as yet another step forward for the open source operating system.

Zorin OS 15.2 is based on Ubuntu 18.04.4, so it includes the 5.3 version of the Linux kernel. The .2 release also adds support for AMD Navi GPUs (including the Radeon RX 5700), as well as support for 10th gen Intel processors and newer model MacBook and MacBook Pro keypads and touchpads.

Users will also find updated versions of core apps, such as Firefox, LibreOffice, and GIMP.

You can download four different versions of Zorin 15.2:

  • Lite – Best suited for older hardware and includes LibreOffice, the XFCE desktop, and the standard desktop layouts.
  • Core – Best suited for everyday desktop usage and includes LibreOffice, standard desktop layouts, the GNOME desktop, and Zorin Connect (to sync your phone with your desktop).
  • Education – Best suited for education environments and includes LibreOffice, both GNOME and XFCE desktops, Zorin Connect, standard desktop layouts, and educational games and apps.
  • Ultimate – Best suited for business desktops and includes LibreOffice, both the GNOME and XFCE desktops, Zorin Connect, standard and advanced desktop layouts, business and media apps, over 20 games, and Zorin installation support.

Download your copy of Zorin OS 15.2 now:

Firefox to Get an Additional Sandbox Layer

The Firefox web browser already runs on top of a sandbox which separates the browser from the operating system. But with attack vectors growing more and more sophisticated (and many shared libraries not up to modern security demands), the Mozilla developers decided it was time to take the isolation of the browser further.

With the release of Firefox 74, a new sandbox technology, called RLBox, will be added. RLBox was developed as a joint effort between Mozilla, the University of California San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, and Stanford University.

According to Bobby Holley, principle engineer with Mozilla, RLBox is a "big deal." With this new sandbox layer, it's easy to isolate existing chunks of code at an unheard of granularity. With RLBox in place, the Firefox developers are able to separate third-party libraries from the Firefox core engine. By making this separation, bugs and exploits within third-party libraries will be unable to impact other applications that use the same library.

The team involved with RLBox managed to isolate half a dozen libraries. Initially, Firefox will ship with the Graphite font shaping library, which is used to correctly render complex fonts, protected with RLBox. Eventually the same sandboxing technique will be applied more broadly to ensure browsing with the open source tool is as secure as possible.

Original source:

Microsoft Defender ATP is Coming to Linux

Microsoft started out by announcing it would release the new Edge web browser for Linux. Next came MS Teams. Continuing that cross-platform effort, Microsoft is set to release Microsoft Defender ATP for the open source platform. Microsoft's stated goal was to build security solutions "not only for Microsoft, but from Microsoft."

According to many MS customers, they've had to deal with attack vectors across a range of platforms and products. That includes Linux. And with the continued rise of Linux on Azure, it became clear to Microsoft they'd need to offer a security solution for more than just Windows and mac OS.

What is Microsoft Defender ATP? According to Microsoft, it is "…a unified endpoint platform for preventative protection, post-breach detection, automated investigation, and response." In other words, Defender ATP is an enterprise-grade security solution that goes beyond the standard antivirus service. Unlike the standard Windows Defender, ATP works on behavioral analysis to collect usage data and store it on the same system. When Defender ATP notices inconsistent behavior, it sends the data to a service that compares it to collected data, and then offers up advice or solutions.

Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux will be made available to Microsoft customers some time in 2020. However, the public preview should be open soon and will be available to install on RHEL 7+, CentOS Linux 7+, Ubuntu 16 LTS or higher, SLES 12+, Debian 9+, and Oracle EL 7.

Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux will include both command line and GUI tools.

Original source:

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