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The Game of Clue, Linux Edition: Who Hacked Linux.Com:

The identities and motives of some of leading and not so leading suspects

By now you have probably heard that most of the Linux Foundation's websites including Linux.com and Linux.org are down, the victims of a hack. It seems that a breach of Kernel.org a few weeks ago may have given the hackers a way in. The folks at the Linux Foundation became aware of a potential security issue on September 8th.  In fact if you try to reach the site you will see the following:

Linux Foundation infrastructure including LinuxFoundation.org, Linux.com, and their subdomains are down for maintenance due to a security breach that was discovered on September 8, 2011. The Linux Foundation made this decision in the interest of extreme caution and security best practices. We believe this breach was connected to the intrusion on kernel.org.

We are in the process of restoring services in a secure manner as quickly as possible. As with any intrusion and as a matter of caution, you should consider the passwords and SSH keys that you have used on these sites compromised. If you have reused these passwords on other sites, please change them immediately. We are currently auditing all systems and will update this statement when we have more information.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We are taking this matter seriously and appreciate your patience. The Linux Foundation infrastructure houses a variety of services and programs including Linux.com, Open Printing, Linux Mark, Linux Foundation events and others, but does not include the Linux kernel or its code repositories.

Please contact us at info@linuxfoundation.org with questions about this matter.

The Linux Foundation

*** UPDATE***

We want to thank you for your questions and your support. We hope this FAQ can help address some of your inquiries.

Q: When will Linux Foundation services, such as events, training and Linux.com be back online?

Our team is working around the clock to restore these important services. We are working with authorities and exercising both extreme caution and diligence. Services will begin coming back online in the coming days and will keep you informed every step of the way.

Q: Were passwords stored in plaintext?

The Linux Foundation does not store passwords in plaintext. However an attacker with access to stored password would have direct access to conduct a brute force attack. An in-depth analysis of direct-access brute forcing, as it relates to password strength, can be read athttp://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/choosing_secure.html. We encourage you to use extreme caution, as is the case in any security breach, and discontinue the use of that password if you re-use it across other sites.

Q: Does my Linux.com email address work?

Yes, Linux.com email addresses are working and safe to use.

Q: What do you know about the source of the attack?

We are aggressively investigating the source of the attack. Unfortunately, we can't elaborate on this for the time being.

Q: Is there anything I can do to help?

We want to thank everyone who has expressed their support while we address this breach. We ask you to be patient as we do everything possible to restore services as quickly as possible.

So while the folks at the Linux Foundation try to get to the bottom of this, I thought we could all help by playing a game. Not one of these new fangled video games, but a good old fashioned board game like we used to play when I was young.  So lets play a game of Clue: The Linux Edition.  

I have already prepared dossiers on who I think may be the leading suspects:

The now former CEO of Yahoo! is just so upset, she is liable to lash out at just about anyone. She did sign a deal with Microsoft and they have brainwashed her into thinking Linux was purely evil or at the very least guilty of violating numerous Microsoft patents.  In her present state of mind it wouldn't take too much to push her over the edge.  We are looking into her alibi claims right now.  Attending her final Yahoo BoD meeting is just not going to hold water.

Having taken over the levers officially at Apple, Cook wants to put his own mark on the company. The pressures of competing with the many-headed Hydra of Linux based Android have been building for some time. He can't afford to be seen as being weak. Of course there was no way to strike at all of the Android handset makers, but by attacking Linux he could go after all of them at once. He hopes this will make Steve proud of him!

How can we have an attack on Linux and not have Microsoft as a suspect? Of course it is so obvious, probably too obvious.  But lets face it, Ballmer put a lot of money and his own prestige on the line with Windows Phone 7 and it hasn't gone the way he hoped.  This stupid Linux has been a thorn in his side for years. He finally had the chance to do something and obvious or not, he struck perhaps?

This one is not as obvious. Why would Page and Google have a motive to do harm to Linux?  But think about it. If Page had known about all of the potential patent problems that Linux faced, would they have built Android and Chrome on it?  This patent mess is going to cost Google millions, if not billions. They already had to go out and buy Motorola as a result of it.  He is Larry Page after all. No one gets away with doing this to him and Sergy!  Call it a potential crime of passion, in the heat of the moment.

Julie Bort? Yes, thats right, Julie Bort. The Network World editor/blogger of the Open Source, Microsoft and other sub-nets runs herself ragged trying to cover the Linux space.  She is constantly bringing in fresh blood to cover the Linux scene. This is getting in the way of her off-road riding and enjoying the clean, fresh Colorado mountains. She secretly has grown to despise Linux. She can't leave this gig though, it just keeps sucking her in. So she has no other way out. A form of professional suicide if you will. The smart money is on Bort.

So there you have it. The leading suspects and their motives. Now the only question is did this take place in the study, the kitchen or the dining room?

In the meantime this is a great reminder. Don't use the same passwords at all of your sites. Change your passwords fairly often and always be security aware.

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