Ubuntu 15.10 "Wily Werewolf" Appears

Focus is on cloud and OpenStack as Canonical plugs away at the Unity desktop and adds the 4.2 kernel

Canonical developer Adam Conrad has announced the release of Ubuntu 15.10 "Wily Werewolf." The latest release is the first to include a Linux 4.2-based kernel and the gcc-5 compiler collection. According to the announcement, the Ubuntu desktop edition includes "incremental improvements," such as newer versions of GTK and Qt, Firefox, LibreOffice, and the Unity desktop.

The server edition places the emphasis on OpenStack, with support for the latest OpenStack Liberty release and a full complement of OpenStack modules. Other improvements include new powers for the Juju orchestration tool, Open vSwitch 2.4.0, and the Ceph 0.94.3 "Hammer" distributed storage system.

Ubuntu provides separate editions for various IT use cases, including Desktop and Server, as well as a Cloud edition and the Snappy Core version for embedded single-board systems and devices. The Ubuntu team also supports an entourage of related projects built around different desktops and toolsets. Appearing along with the main Unity-based Ubuntu release were new versions of Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Kylin (for Chinese-language users), MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu. See the Ubuntu 15.10 release notes for more on the latest version.

Ubuntu 15.10 is a standard release, with nine months of free security updates for desktop and server users. The first release of 2016, Ubuntu 16.04 "Xenial Xerus," will be another Long-Term Service (LTS) release, with five years of bug fixes and security updates for both the server and desktop editions.

Time Protocol Threat Could Allow Login with Expired Passwords

Timely warning sheds new light on problems with the ubiquitous Network Time Protocol.

Cisco's Talos threat intelligence service has uncovered a flaw in the Network Time Protocol (NTP) authentication process that lets an attacker force the NTP daemon into pairing with a malicious time source. According to Talos, this attack "… leverages a logic error in ntpd's handling of certain crypto-NAK packets. When a vulnerable ntpd receives an NTP symmetric active crypto-NAK packet, it will peer with the sender, bypassing authentication typically required to establish a peer association."

Although a time protocol does not provide direct access to financial or medical information, an attacker can do considerable damage if allowed to manipulate network time. Some network services will fail if the system time is out of sync, and control over time parameters could allow access through expired passwords or certificates. Attackers could also cover their tracks or manipulate banking transactions by surreptitiously altering timestamps.

Users are advised to upgrade to ntp-4.2.8p4, which fixes this vulnerability. If an upgrade isn't possible at this time, the Talos report describes some tips for firewall rules that could help mitigate the problem.

Not Another Flash Zero-Day Exploit!

Even patched versions of the porous multimedia tool succumb in the latest attack.

Researchers at Trend Micro say they have discovered yet another zero-day Adobe Flash exploit. The once-popular Flash technology has been the subject of several serious attacks in the past year, and some browsers are actually starting to disable it by default because of security issues.

The latest attack, by the espionage group Pawn Storm, targets government foreign affairs offices around the world and appears to have been launched through email phishing messages.

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