VirtualBox Now Supports Linux Kernel 5.8

Linus Torvalds said that the Linux Kernel 5.8 was the largest release of all time. Although the vast majority of the changes to the kernel was code cleanup, there were a number of additions to the supported hardware and even some new features. But due to the size of this new kernel, one would have thought it might have taken considerable time for the likes of VirtualBox to come out with support. That is not the case.

With the release of VirtualBox 6.1.14, the newest kernel is officially supported. This means you can not only run VirtualBox on Linux distribution hosts that use the 5.8 kernel, you can also run those same distributions as guest virtual machines.

But don't think the 6.1.14 maintenance release is only about supporting the new kernel. This latest release also includes plenty of bug fixes for Windows and macOS hosts and other fixes such as:

  • Fixing a regression in HDA audio emulation
  • Fixing webcam passthrough and audio input issue on macOS Mojave and newer
  • Fixing an issue in Windows host serial port implementation
  • Fixing an issue when copying HTML data to the shared clipboard

Of course, the big news is the support for the new kernel. For a more complete listing of the changes, read the changelog (

Download the latest version of VirtualBox (as well as the Extension Pack and the SDK) from the official download page (

Three Major Linux Threats Discovered

In less than a week, it has been reported that Linux has been found to be vulnerable to three different attacks. This should come as no surprise, given the steady rise in popularity Linux has enjoyed over the last year.

The first attack is a cryptomining dedicated denial of service (DDoS) attack, named Lucifer. This hybrid DDoS botnet was first known for infecting Windows machines with Monero cryptomining bots. That attack is now scanning for and infecting Linux servers and desktops. The Linux version of the Lucifer botnet has the same capabilities as the Windows version, but it can also be used in HTTP-based DDoS attacks.

The next attack, dubbed FritzFrog, is another botnet that was discovered breaching SSH servers starting in January 2020. This bot, written in Golang, has been found to target systems within the government, education, and finance sectors. FritzFrog assembles and executes its in-memory payload. Once on a system, FritzFrog communicates, via an encrypted channel, using over 30 commands. The malware then spawns multiple threads to facilitate replication, deployment, and growth. Guardicore Labs has created a script ( that can detect FritzFrog infections.

Finally, Drovorub is a toolset that creates a backdoor on Linux machines that enables file downloads and uploads, as well as the execution of commands as root and port forwarding of network traffic. Worst of all, Drovorub implants a kernel rootkit, which is enhanced with additional capabilities. To mitigate Drovorub, admins are warned to upgrade their Linux systems immediately (including the kernel). If your servers and desktops are running any kernel newer than 3.7, you should be safe. Of course, 3.7 is quite an old kernel, so chances are good you are already free from the effects of this malware.

Linux Kernel 5.8 Is Now Available

Linus Torvalds (the creator of Linux) has called the 5.8 kernel ( the "Biggest release of all time." That kernel is now available for installation.

The majority of the 5.8 kernel is code cleanup, driver support, security improvements, and low-level optimizations, which translates into not a lot of user-facing features. To put this into perspective, Torvalds said this:

"But again, 5.8 is up there with the best, despite not really having any single thing that stands out. Yes, there's a couple of big driver changes (habanalabs and atomisp) that are certainly part of it, but it's not nearly as one-sided as some of the other historical big releases have been."

Some of the new features include support for Qualcomm Adreno 405/640/650, AMDGPU TMZ, Tiger Lake SAGV, POWER10 CPUs, Arm SoC, Tiger Lake Thunderbolt (for Intel's Gateway SoCs), as well as a new AMD Energy Driver.

Although you might be tempted to upgrade to the new 5.8 kernel, remember that your distribution of choice may not include their own supported drivers and patches. Because of this, you might not want to jump right in and install the latest kernel on a production machine. Install 5.8 on a test platform and kick the tires before you decide to go ahead on migrating any mission critical machine.

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