On Tue, 16 May 2006, Marc Perkel wrote:
As most of you know the United States is tapping you telephone calls and
tracking every call you make. The next logical step is to start tapping
your computer implanting spyware into operating systems. Since Windows
and OS-X are proprietary this can be done more easilly with the
cooperation of Microsoft and Apple.
So what about Linux? With thousands of people working on the Kernel if
someone from the NSA wanted to slip a back door into the Kernel, could
the do that?
Well, yes and no.
It's highly unlikely that it would get into the kernel. Definitely not
kernel.org, since all patches are public.
But it's not the kernel that you have to always worry about. But it's
what you install. Especially as root.
There's so much free stuff out there, that people download and install
blindly, that I'm sure if someone wanted to really badly, they could get
it on some boxes. If they were slime and added something to a binary,
and supplied the source without the backdoor, that might last a while.
Unless you compile everything yourself, it's not easy to make sure that
all binaries came from the source you have.
But there are a lot of hackers out there (the good kind, not the crackers
that the press call "hackers"). And they are aways looking at things
and breaking them to see how they work.
So, really, I doubt anyone could really get a lot on lots of people's
Linux boxes. But, if we ever had an evil Debian maintainer, that allowed
it, then it might happen. But that would usually be discovered rather