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Article from Issue 245/2021
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In the news: Elementary OS Offers Multi-Touch Gesture Support; Sudo Patch for Decade-Old Flaw; Slimbook Titan: Another New Linux Laptop; Golang Worm Targeting Linux Servers; Fileless Malware Attacks Linux Systems; Fileless Malware Attacks Linux Systems

Elementary OS Offers Multi-Touch Gesture Support

For the longest time, when Linux users wanted to employ gestures for their trackpads, they'd have to go to great lengths to install and configure third-party software. Many times, that configuration was handled by way of text-based configuration files. Because of this, a large number of mobile Linux users did without.

The developers of one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions on the market are hoping to change that, with plans to include multi-touch gesture support in the upcoming elementary OS 6 release.

In conjunction with José Expósito, the author of Touchégg, the developers have brought to life window manager gestures. This is made possible by using the Touchégg Daemon to capture input events and communicate them to the elementary OS window manager, Gala.

The elementary OS developers are considering two possible proposals: multitasking view and workspace switching.

Both of these options use 1:1 responsive, finger-tracking gestures, and when animations aren't available in the window manager, the system will default to those from Touchégg. They're also putting into place gestures for maximizing and tiling windows. With the help of other technologies, these multi-touch gestures will also extend to functions like browser back and other navigations. But since this is still in early development, it's hard to say what all will be supported upon initial release.

Users will be able to customize which gestures are applied to particular actions (such as three-finger swipe up to reveal the multitasking view).

For more information, check out the official elementary OS blog (https://blog.elementary.io/multitouch-gestures-in-elementary-os-6/).

Sudo Patch for Decade-Old Flaw

Sudo is the venerable tool that allows standard users to run admin tasks on Linux distributions. Without sudo, users would have to log into the system as the root user (or change to the root user with the su command), in order to run admin commands. Seeing as how that is a security risk, sudo has become a required tool for many Linux admins and users.

However, it has been discovered (by researchers at Qualys) that, for nearly a decade, sudo contained a heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability. This bug could allow any unprivileged user to gain root privileges using the default sudo configuration.

The vulnerability was introduced to sudo in July 2011, by way of commit 8255ed69 and effects the following versions of sudo: legacy versions from 1.8.2 to 1.8.31p2 and stable versions from 1.9.0 to 1.9.5p1.

Qualys researchers have been able to verify the vulnerability and even develop multiple exploit variants to obtain full root privileges on Ubuntu 20.04, Debian 1, and Fedora 33.

A new version of sudo (version 1.9.5p2) has been created to patch the vulnerability. It is imperative that all Linux admins and users update their systems (servers and/or desktops) immediately, so their version of sudo is patched.

For more information on this vulnerability, read the official CVE record (http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2021-3156).

Slimbook Titan: Another New Linux Laptop

For anyone looking to up their Linux gaming experience, the Spanish PC manufacturer, Slimbook, has announced a beast of a machine, called the Slimbook Titan. What makes this laptop so special is that it's powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (with speeds of up to 4.4GHz) and includes an NVidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU (with 8GB of memory). That's a lot of power, which should be able to meet and exceed your gaming needs.

The base model includes 16GB of 3200Mhz RAM, but you can up that spec to either 32GB or 64GB. The default storage is a 500GB NVMe SSE, but it can be spec'd out to 4TB (even including an optional RAID array).

The aesthetics should please any gamer looking for a sleek machine. With a black aluminum body, a 15.6" 2K IPS display (with 165Hz refresh rate), and a backlit (RGB lighting) opto-mechanical keyboard, and infrared facial recognition (that works with Linux out of the box), this machine packs plenty of "wow" factor.

As for ports, the Titan includes three USB 3.0, one USB Type-C, HDMI, and RJ45 Ethernet.

Slimbook is currently taking preorders for the Titan (https://slimbook.es/en/store/titan/titan-comprar). The base machine will set you back EUR1599,00 ($1,930). Fully spec'd out, the machine (64GB of RAM, 4TB of local storage, and RAID) is EUR2896,00 ($3,496). The only Linux distribution they offer is Ubuntu, but you can also purchase it with no operating system (so you can install your operating system of choice).

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