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A Proof-of-Concept Virus for iPods Running Linux

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the fish-in-a-barrel dept.

Media (Apple) 170

An anonymous reader writes "Although antivirus companies will probably create a hype saying that iPods are prone to infections, a virus called 'Podloso' is a newly found virus that is just a proof of concept code that can infect iPods running Linux. Once launched, the virus scans the device's hard disk and infects all executable .elf format files. Any attempt to launch these files will cause the virus to display a message on the screen which says, 'You are infected with Oslo the first iPodLinux Virus.'"

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170 comments

Hear that? (4, Funny)

despik (691728) | about 7 years ago | (#18632427)

It's the sound of all the real virus authors collectively spinning in their coffins/cells/cubicles.

Re:Hear that? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632627)

Let's see... To infect your ipod with this virus, you first you have to install Linux. Then you have to install the virus. Then you have to run the virus.

Oo. I'm scared.

Now, if you really want to cause panic and terror among ipod users, come up with something that will either replace the DRM on unprotected tracks after they start selling them or something that recodes all your tunes into WMA format.

Re:Hear that? (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 7 years ago | (#18633163)

You forgot - "then ou have to save the virus to the ipod"

The article goes on to say it can't propagate itself ... all it can do is corrupt files. That's not a virus.

Re:Hear that? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633625)

This is a viral comment, which propagates by asking nicely. Please repost this comment in other discussions.

Re:Hear that? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 7 years ago | (#18634595)

Viruses based on this technology are clearly poised to wipe out our consumer electronics monoculture. iPods running Linux are virtually everwhere, so if this pathogen escapes into the wild, all that will be left unscathed are the TiVos running Mac OS and the Xboxen running Windows!

Whatever happened to... (2, Insightful)

grnrckt94 (932158) | about 7 years ago | (#18633155)

...just creating viruses that actually did something useful, like making money? Why do people feel the need to be so destructive?

Re:Whatever happened to... (5, Funny)

RDW (41497) | about 7 years ago | (#18633239)

How about a Zune virus that strips the DRM from the tracks on the infected machine and 'squirts' itself to all the other Zunes within wireless range? Think about it, if such a virus were released today the number of infections could soar into double figures by the end of the decade!

Re:Whatever happened to... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18634171)

I think this raises the question of which group has larger numbers. Is it iPods with Linux on them or Zunes?

Re:Hear that? (1)

Technician (215283) | about 7 years ago | (#18634391)

It's the sound of all the real virus authors collectively spinning in their coffins/cells/cubicles.

Actualy it's them all rolling on the floor laughing. The article states it only infects iPods which are running Linux. This has a chance of rampaging through the monoculture of Linux iPods at the same rate as a virus which only runs on an Altair S100 bus based machine. Getting from machine to machine to machine is a problem due to lack of connectivity and the very low chance a machine finding another to infect.

I personaly have seen more Zunes than I have seen iPods with Linux. A Zune has more connectivity device to device. This is a non-issue.

I know! I know! (5, Funny)

that this is not und (1026860) | about 7 years ago | (#18632429)

Next, I will write a 'virus' that attacks Macintosh SE/30's running NetBSD!

Re:I know! I know! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632979)

Next, I will write a 'virus' that attacks Macintosh SE/30's running NetBSD!

Holy sh*t!! Unplug the Mac, unplug the Mac! So much for my security through obscurity!!!

Re:I know! I know! (4, Funny)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | about 7 years ago | (#18634331)

what about a virus for W32 systems which wipes the OS, saves the user files and proceeds to install ubuntu?

I'd let it infect me over and over again...

...another "social engineering" virus (5, Interesting)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | about 7 years ago | (#18632451)

FTA: Podloso cannot be launched automatically without user involvement.

I always find it amusing when a virus that requires the user to activate it is considered news. By definition it's more social engineering then a vulnerability. If people weren't so stupid I assume nearly 100% of all computer virus' wouldn't exist, or wouldn't be a problem.

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (4, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | about 7 years ago | (#18632579)

The vast majority of viruses require user intervention to run and infect a machine, and aren't considered news (or at least, not individually). I assume that this one is because it's the first for this particular platform.

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (3, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | about 7 years ago | (#18632835)

The vast majority of viruses require user intervention to run and infect a machine, and aren't considered news (or at least, not individually).

The most damaging (and thus, most reported) viruses don't. I believe the NetBlaster and RedAlert were actual viruses, and spread by vulnerabilities in services enabled by default on standard windows builds.

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (4, Informative)

H3g3m0n (642800) | about 7 years ago | (#18633097)

Technically these are considered worms, as they actively self propagate, they seek out vulnerabilities in other systems and infect them. Viruses on the other hand attach to similar files and require the user to transfer the file and execute it on another system having a passive attack vector. I'm not sure i would count the iPod Linux virus as a virus as it would have to be able to infect other iPods somehow, if it can't infect other iPods then its really just malicious code. Granted you can take the binary files from one iPod and put it on another but thats not likely to happen meaning it has basically no self propagation.

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632865)

It depends on what you call "user intervention". If by "user intervention" you mean "turning a machine on" or "viewing a webpage" or "reading an email", then, yes, most successful viruses need "user intervention". I wouldn't however call it that way myself...

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (5, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | about 7 years ago | (#18633757)

But it shouldn't be news. Anything that can run code, can run malicious code. It's only worth mentioning if there's a chance that a user will a) obtain and b) run the code without knowing it's malicious. If the virus were hidden in a song and could be executed just by being played, that would be news.

Oh, and look: it was discovered by a company that makes antivirus software. [kaspersky.com] Wow, what are the odds that an antivirus company would be the first to discover and publicize a virus that runs on what might be called the least-adopted platform ever in history? I'd bet my next paycheck that somewhere there's a connection between an employee of that company and the author of this "virus"--and not just a six-degrees kind of link, I mean a real, substantial link.

Antivirus exec: "Well, in six years, we haven't been able to convince anyone that OS X is insecure. Despite our efforts, there hasn't been a single in-the-wild, self-replicating virus for that platform. What should we try next?"
Underling: "Maybe try spreading FUD about iPods?"
Antivirus exec: "Brilliant!"

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (1)

b1ufox (987621) | about 7 years ago | (#18632789)

I always find it amusing when a virus that requires the user to activate it is considered news. By definition it's more social engineering then a vulnerability

Right.But most of the viruses(in reference to Windows), infected EXEs can harm your PC only if you execute them.Isn't this a kind of user involvement? Ironically if you don't run some XYZ untrusted EXE, you don't mess it up..simple. If you run it, thinking your AntiVirus will save you all the times, then sorry you are in soup.Not always you 'll be saved.Rather i should also add, not all AntiVirus will save you.I used to run WinXP without any AntiVirus installed and still managed to keep my PC safe from my viruses.

~psr

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | about 7 years ago | (#18633045)

I always find it amusing when a virus that requires the user to activate it is considered news.

By that definition, rm -rf / would be considered a virus.

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (1)

Lavene (1025400) | about 7 years ago | (#18633305)

By that definition, rm -rf / would be considered a virus.

Oh but it is! It's inherited by the 'stupidity' virus...

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (1)

brunascle (994197) | about 7 years ago | (#18633293)

agreed.

i dont even think we should use the word "virus" for something like that. after all, a real-life biological virus spreads itself and generally starts reaking havoc without the host having to do anything after contracting it.

this would be more like a "poisoning", like if you poured poison into someone's coffee.

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | about 7 years ago | (#18633405)

It's not a virus.

If it were capable of self propagating it would fit the usual meaning of computer virus. As it is it's only able to run with the help of a user, and they also have to copy it onto ipodlinux. Well, the same is true for all podzilla plugins.

Given that anyone likely to use ipodlinux is also likely to be savvy enough to think about what they are doing, this is a pretty pointless piece of code.

Perhaps 'malware plugin'?

Re:...another "social engineering" virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633477)

I always find it amusing when a virus that requires the user to activate it is considered news.

I always find it amusing when a virus that requires the luser to activate it is considered a virus! By its very definition, a virus is self-replicating. If it needs luser intervention to replicate, it's a trojan. Blame Symantic and McAfee and the other shoddy AV writers for muddying up the waters. Can you trust a security company that doesn't know the difference between a virus, a worm, and a trojan?

Calling a trojan a "virus" is like saying "BSD is easily hacked; all you need is the root password".

-mcgrew

Depends on antivirus company (4, Informative)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 7 years ago | (#18632455)

""Although antivirus companies will probably create a hype saying that iPods are prone to infections"

Well, (Eugene) Kaspersky says at viruslist.com blog (http://www.viruslist.com/en/weblog?weblogid=20818 7356):

"Overall, I don't think iViruses will cause serious problems in the future. The iPod world is very different from the PC and smartphone world. Users aren't constantly installing new software and downloading a wide range of files, so that cuts down on the possible infection vectors. And what's there to steal from an iPod? Multimedia files, and that's about all.

So - it was an interesting little puzzle, this proof of concept, but nothing more."

Re:Depends on antivirus company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632975)

That's pretty short-sighted. I already use my iPod as a portable HD and I suspect that as the flash sizes get larger, others will too. Why should I carry a USB stick if I already have my iPod? So, "What's there to steal?" Could be a lot.

Re:Depends on antivirus company (3, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | about 7 years ago | (#18632995)

There can be more information to steal on an iPod than just multimedia. iPods have, for quite a while, been able to store contacts, notes, and calendars, typical PIM stuff. There might be something of value in those. On the other hand, if one were to craft a virus for the new iPhone, there definitely could be some malicious value in that, because it stores more information, accesses email and the internet, and is continuously connected to the outside world. On the other hand, the iPhone is a totally different beast than the iPod (and Linux-on-iPod), and will undoubtedly be a much tougher nut to crack.

No so fast, this is a dynamic environment (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 7 years ago | (#18633165)

Don't speak, or quote, too soon. Coupla points. 1. Increasingly, people are using these devices to store more than just mp3s. Pictures & video may not be just stuff ripped off the net - wanna see your family pics, or intimate videos, get posted or otherwise abused? More sensitive still, many people store files, (including dictation) on these devices. My brother in law is a lawyer; I spent a *long* time explaining to him what was so potentially dangerous in what he did with new technology. 2. Remember the infamous Sony rootkit? How long before we have a virus designed to collect DRM info on stuff on our iPods? *Puts tinfoil hat on*

Legality? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632459)

What are the licensing terms associated with this virus? GPL? BSD?

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632867)

You are free to copy and share

Re:Legality? (1)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | about 7 years ago | (#18632871)

"This virus is trying to attach itself to other files on your hard disk. Before it can do this, you will need to agree to the terms of the GPL. Ok or Cancel?"

Re:Legality? (3, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 7 years ago | (#18634117)

..and does a GPL virus that attaches itself to something automatically GPL the thing that it's attached to?

Re: License (1)

MrManny (1026106) | about 7 years ago | (#18633107)

Surely it must be creative commons non-commercial no-attribution no-worlddestruction sharealike license.

Non-story (5, Informative)

nevali (942731) | about 7 years ago | (#18632461)

This is possibly the biggest waste of a story Slashdot's had in a while.

Not only does it only 'infect' iPods running Linux, but it's not even able to replicate. To call it a virus is stretching the truth, to say the least; it's just a program that trashes your binaries.

Re:Non-story (1)

AxminsterLeuven (963108) | about 7 years ago | (#18632497)

How would it replicate? One iPod 'squirting' it at another iPod? That sounds more like a Zune-disease... Still, I keep my iPod in its woolly iSock, so it won't catch a cold.

Re:Non-story (2, Informative)

nevali (942731) | about 7 years ago | (#18632523)

Well, that's part of the point: the potential for an attack vector on something like an iPod is pretty minimal.

Re:Non-story (4, Funny)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | about 7 years ago | (#18632535)

It's an "honour system virus" - in the same way that sending a user a program that deletes all their files and telling them to run it is.

Re:Non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633457)

So it works like that amish virus that was going around a bit over the past couple years?
I was really getting annoyed at needing to rebuild my sandbox after every page that had that on there.

Re:Non-story (3, Informative)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about 7 years ago | (#18632895)

But isn't this what viruses (virii?) were like back in the day, before the days of the internet and widespread connectivity? The first viruses were more interested in deleting files and executables and could only be spread by floppy disks.

Sure, compared to modern-day viruses, which have (d)evolved into almost worm-like behavious, emailing all and sundry in an address book and generally causing mayhem, it's just a tad boring, but I would say it could definitely be classed as a virus - in the same way a Lada could be classed as a car.

Re:Non-story (1)

nevali (942731) | about 7 years ago | (#18632951)

Yes, this is certainly true. I recall colleges getting widespread infections of viruses thanks to students running infected programs from floppies, which then remained in memory and infected any programs on any disks that were later inserted until the machine was rebooted (or until it was cleaned, if it had a hard disk).

The thing is, though, that's not how software gets distributed any more: the way things work in the iPodLinux world means that it's a lot harder for you to get infected in the first place, and once you have been there's no way for the infection to spread: the whole setup makes virus writing utterly pointless, not to mention very difficult.

Re:Non-story (1)

eli pabst (948845) | about 7 years ago | (#18633181)

Not only does it only 'infect' iPods running Linux, but it's not even able to replicate. To call it a virus is stretching the truth, to say the least; it's just a program that trashes your binaries.

By definition that's what a virus is. The fact that it appends copies of itself to elf files *is* replication. If it had the ability to self propagate then it would be a worm. Viruses are by definition file infectors.

The only reason it's news is because this virus infects ipods. Anytime you have a new virus that is the first to infect a given OS/device it makes headlines, like the first cellphone virus, bluetooth virus, etc. There has and always will be a segment of the virus-writing community who are more interested in being the first to do something rather than to cause significant damage.

Thank Goodness (3, Interesting)

Spackler (223562) | about 7 years ago | (#18632479)

"You are infected with Oslo the first iPodLinux Virus."

I would like to thank the developers of this virus. For too long, I have been enjoying hacking my iPod. It is good that someone is out there attempting to stop that by ruining my property.

Really, now on to the real discussion. Can someone explain the motivation? I actually do not understand why someone would waste their time to write a virus. The only type I do understand is the bot net stuff, and that is motivated by money. Heck, if I can take over 5000 computers and sell the work they can do in mass spam or something, at least the writer is attempting to make money. Why write something like this though? If they spent the same time writing real code, they would make money. If they did it for a different organization, they could help the Red Cross with their IT stuff, or a hospital. Why the fsck do this crap?

Malcontent? Antisocial? What the heck drives these people?

Re:Thank Goodness (2, Insightful)

operato (782224) | about 7 years ago | (#18632515)

for the fun of it and because they can. that's what happens when you give people choice. surely the matrix taught you that.

Re:Thank Goodness (5, Insightful)

J0nne (924579) | about 7 years ago | (#18632533)

It's for the same reason people install Linux on their iPods in the first place: because they can.

Re:Thank Goodness (4, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | about 7 years ago | (#18632549)

Creating pseudo-life? Hell, 20 years ago i was very happy when my exe header virus first infected one of my files :) It was definitely more satisfying than hacking away on some j2ee shit.

Re:Thank Goodness (0, Offtopic)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 years ago | (#18633521)

It was definitely more satisfying than hacking away on some j2ee shit.
Amen, brotha.

Re:Thank Goodness (2, Insightful)

CDarklock (869868) | about 7 years ago | (#18633207)

I used to run a moderately sized VX (virus exchange) board. There are three main reasons people write viruses.

1. Because they're fascinating. It was interesting to see what kind of things you could make a virus do. For people like this - which included me - the game was to write a virus that more effectively reproduced, evolved, and evaded detection in a smaller space. You can spot viruses written for this reason because THERE IS NO PAYLOAD. It doesn't break anything. It's an academic exercise. We DON'T CARE what it does. That's not the point.

2. Because they want money. This was a tiny little minority on my board, and to my knowledge none of them ever actually implemented anything; we just talked about "what if" scenarios. At the time, since the internet was not really a big thing for most people, there was very little a virus could do to deliver information elsewhere. Today, the world has changed, and everything is networked. We can talk to anyone anywhere at any time. And that means this group has simply exploded out of the criminal underworld.

3. Revenge/status. The vast majority of people on my board were people who wanted to give a virus to their ex-wife or to some guy in school who was mean yesterday. They think that if they give someone a virus it will "show them who's boss" or "everyone will think I'm so cool". This is childish and stupid.

The author of this virus is probably in the latter group.

Re:Thank Goodness (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 7 years ago | (#18633461)

Can someone explain the motivation?

I'm guessing there are a couple of 12-year-old Norweigan kids who are jerking each other off right about now, from seeing their dipshit virus make Slashdot.

Application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632489)

Its a program you have to install, and it does no damage.. thats called an application surely..

Apple restore to the save... (1)

ranga_the_don (956067) | about 7 years ago | (#18632525)

Podloso has no malicious payload, and does not present a real threat; it simply demonstrates that it is, theoretically possible to create malicious programs for such devices.
Does not matter even if it presents any threat, there's always apple restore to the save... It is not possible to make an iPod useless just by altering software on it... It's funny to think what would be the threat even if my ipod running ipodLinux was affected by some virus, would it play my songs in reverse for me by chance ;) making them sound alien :) - Yes, but does it run Lunix?

Next gen Virus (5, Funny)

ValiSystem (845610) | about 7 years ago | (#18632551)

Hey, i made a multi platform virus that can infect almost any existing computer. And it's easy to spread : just compile following code : #include "stdio.h" int main (void) { printf("YOU ARE INFECTED BY ULTRAdOOM NExT gen, F3AR THE L0RD !!\n"); exit 0; } Launch and here you are ! (yes, i know, i should have posted that on my blog and write a story for Slashdot)

Re:Next gen Virus (1)

harry666t (1062422) | about 7 years ago | (#18632719)

No, no, no! Wrong! That should go

#include
using namespace std;
int main (int argc, char* argv[]) {
    cout "YOU ARE INFECTED BY ULTRAdOOM NExT gen, F3AR THE L0RD !!" endl;
    exit 0;
}

In what times do ya live? C++ was yesterday, C is almost ancient! How can you call this fossil "next-gen"!?

Re:Next gen Virus (1)

cculianu (183926) | about 7 years ago | (#18632855)

Um, most software is written in C++. And a lot of other code out there is in C. The Linux kernel being one of them.

No, C is not ancient, and C++ is very much alive. In fact, it might be one of the most popular languages on the planet.

Re:Next gen Virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633823)

C++ is very much alive. In fact, it might be one of the most popular languages on the planet.
Eat shit, 40 billion flies can't be wrong!

C++ is a terrible, terrible language. It's a terrible OO language, and a clunkier C, and as a metaprogramming language, it is godawful - every metaprogram a twisty maze of idiosyncrasy. Give me Common Lisp any day.

Re:Next gen Virus (1)

plasmoidia (935911) | about 7 years ago | (#18633579)

Hey, i made a multi platform virus that can infect almost any existing computer. And it's easy to spread : just compile following code :

#include "stdio.h"
int main (void) {
printf("YOU ARE INFECTED BY ULTRAdOOM NExT gen, F3AR THE L0RD !!\n");
exit 0;
}

Launch and here you are ! (yes, i know, i should have posted that on my blog and write a story for Slashdot)
Hmmm, I don't think it will spread too easily by the means you mention. That code won't compile ;-).

Re:Next gen Virus (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 7 years ago | (#18634231)

It will on a lot of compilers... checking argc,argv for main is a later addition. It's wrong, but it'll often compile.

There are still books out there that write main(void) and main() - only crappy ones though.

A bigger problem is the #include, which will look in the current directory rather than the system directory. Should be using %ltstdio.h%gt not "stdio.h"

Oh and exit should be return, but I guess that's just a typo.

(the c++ version used that spawn of the devil statement 'using namespace std;'.. ffs don't they teach the harmful effects of namespace pollution any more?)

This is going to spread like wildfire (4, Funny)

DrXym (126579) | about 7 years ago | (#18632563)

Amongst the 8 people running Linux on their iPods.

nine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633559)

I just installed it.

Re:This is going to spread like wildfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633867)

Exactly. I mean, isn't this really a "Linux Virus" that only runs on iPods because whatever bits of Linux you could get on an iPod likely has been stripped of any security related bits? Not exactly an "iPod Virus" if iPods aren't sold, nor intended to run Linux to begin with.

Parts needed... (5, Funny)

FinchWorld (845331) | about 7 years ago | (#18632663)

iPod - £90 to £250

iPod Linux - Free

Knowledge and desire to install linux on your MP3 Player - Your social life

Having been smart enough to install Linux on your iPod then go out of your way to install a virus - Priceless

For everything else theres run of the mill idiots.

Question (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 7 years ago | (#18632671)

What is the intersection between people who're smart enough to have installed Linux on their iPods, and people stupid enough to run a random executable?

Would anyone in that set like to make themselves known? Anyone? Don't be shy; anyone at all?

Didn't think so.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633553)

Me Me Me!!!!!!11

Yes, me, the anonymous coward!!!

What exactly is the point of this article? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632673)

"A Proof-of-Concept Virus for iPods Running Linux"

a) It's not a virus.*
b) It's not iPod-specific, it could run on other Linuces as well.
c) The method isn't Linux-specific, would work on almost any OS.
So what we have here is, a proof of what concept exactly?

* Granted, that on all currently popular OS's any executable you launch can touch all the files you yourself can, is in itself a big WTF. But we know that, so we don't launch untrusted executables.

Re:What exactly is the point of this article? (2, Informative)

nevali (942731) | about 7 years ago | (#18632729)

It might be a big WTF, but what's the alternative? Effectively put everything in its own sandbox? The problem is that your files are created and accessed by the very same programs you want to restrict access: without that access, both the programs and the files are useless. If you get into the explicit-permission game, you end up with something like UAC or Java's sandboxing permissions--neither of which have exactly set the world on fire. Essentially it boils down to this: what good's a text editor that can't edit your files, or a file manager that can't open, rename, move, copy or delete your files? Where's the line between programs which can do things and programs which can't? What determines trusted versus untrusted? Is it digital signatures? If so, who issues them? (And with that we're heading rapidly towards TCPA and friends to ensure the validity of the signatures on all of your binaries, including the kernel and drivers).

Personally, I'd rather have an OS in which programs _I_ run can access _my_ files, whereas programs other people run can't, than have an OS where programs I run have to be whitelisted to function properly and I either get really lax about the whitelisting and allow everything that seems like it /might/ be OK to access my stuff, or spend all my time tuning and verifying the permissions for programs and no time at all actually using the things and getting anything done.

Amish Virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632693)

I wondered how long it would take for someone to modify the Amish virus.

Netcraft Confirms : "Linux on the iPod" Is Dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18632709)

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered Linux on the iPod community when last month IDC confirmed that Linux on the iPod accounts for less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of the latest Netcraft survey which plainly states that Linux on the iPod has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Linux on the iPod is collapsing in complete disarray, as further exemplified by failing dead last [sysadminmag.com] in th recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict Linux on the iPod's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Linux on the iPod faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Linux on the iPod because Linux on the iPod is dying. Things are looking very bad for Linux on the iPod. As many of us are already aware, Linux on the iPod continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Linux on the iPod leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of Linux on the iPod. How many users of Linux on the iPod are there? Let's see. The number of Linux on the iPod versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Linux on the iPod users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Linux on the iPod posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put Linux on the iPod at about 80 percent of the Linux on the iPod market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Linux on the iPod users. This is consistent with the number of Linux on the iPod Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, Linux on the iPod went out of business and was taken over by Linux on the iPod who sell another troubled OS. Now Linux on the iPod is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Linux on the iPod has steadily declined in market share. Linux on the iPod is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Linux on the iPod is to survive at all it will be among OS hobbyist dabblers. Linux on the iPod continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Linux on the iPod is dead.

Linux on the iPod is dying

Once launched ... (3, Funny)

krkhan (1071096) | about 7 years ago | (#18632727)

Here's a much simpler virus which wrecks havoc 'once launched':

echo "You're being infected with the Idiotisco, the second most stupid Linux virus"
rm -rf ~
The Idiotisco virus is a 'proof of concept' that any moron running Linux can set executable bit on a file and run it to damage his system.

Disclaimer: The source code of Idiotisco virus is disclosed only for educational purposes. I will not be held responsible if it makes your system bleed or gets you fired from your job.

Re:Once launched ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633589)

Here's a much simpler virus which wrecks havoc 'once launched':

Perhaps you mean "wreaks havoc"?

It's not .elf it's *ELF* (4, Informative)

cculianu (183926) | about 7 years ago | (#18632793)

The file format is called ELF, the executable and linking format. Not .elf. It isn't a file extension. This isn't windows. Bah.

From the J.R.R. Tolkien department ... (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#18632823)

Once launched, the virus scans the device's hard disk and infects all executable .elf format files.

As an Orc myself, I'd have to say that all Elves are considered executable.

Re:From the J.R.R. Tolkien department ... (1)

funaho (42567) | about 7 years ago | (#18634021)

Those freakin' elves...they came out of the trees man...they came out of the TREES.

With apologies to Family Guy because I no doubt have butchered the quote a bit. It's still early here. :)

Re:From the J.R.R. Tolkien department ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18634525)

Mod parent Troll?

i know a virus even more powerfull that this one (1)

seyon (1084941) | about 7 years ago | (#18632829)

i know a virus even more powerfull that this one, that infect all Linux Distributions, it's called shred, just try to type shred /* and wait for the result :X

This is pathetic and Apple should sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633025)

Like this is REALLY an iPod virus! Code that the user has to load, running on an unsupported, non-Apple software replacement. Gimme a freaking break. Apple should sue these idiots and make them publish a retraction.

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633055)

munches the most y0ur own beer

As you have to manually install Linux . . . (1)

bradavon (1066358) | about 7 years ago | (#18633067)

As you have to manually install Linux in the first place I can't see this effecting many people.

Thank you! (1)

eXFeLoN (954179) | about 7 years ago | (#18633075)

I for one welcome our new virus-laden, portable multimedia playing overlords!

Who runs linux on their Ipod in the first place? I'm not familiar with the OS of the Ipod, are they all Linux based?

Morris Worm (1)

cow ninja (306125) | about 7 years ago | (#18633177)

Wasn't the Morris Worm a proof of concept? I am not saying that this virus will have the same results just that sometimes it is a good idea to remember the past.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Worm [wikipedia.org]

Re:Morris Worm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633709)

Please read your own fucking link

Re:Morris Worm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18633929)

Wasn't the Morris Worm a proof of concept?
Anything that works as conceptualized is a proof of concept.

Proof-of-Concept ? (1)

The Media Mechanic (1084283) | about 7 years ago | (#18633283)

I find it hard to appreciate calling a new virus a "Proof-of-Concept". I know this description is a valid label for this thing, but for some reason this seems like a bad way to brand new viruses. In my mind, the name "Proof-of-Concept" is more applicable to something that is useful and beneficial. So, if you are writing a new, faster algorithm to approximate a solution to some business or scientific or other computational problem that needs to be solved, then that is a good thing to name a PoC. But if you are writing something that's main purpose is destructive, not constructive, I think we should attach a negative label to that task. Perhaps "Waste-of-Time" ? or maybe "Proof-of-Bad-Idea" ? I think we should extend this negative label to people who work on making more deadly weapons / ways to hurt / ways to destroy things.

The counter-argument is, of course, that having a new sample virus allows antivirus engineers to create a defense before a real virus enters the wild. Sort of like a vaccine maker needs the real virus to make a cure. But I would still prefer a name like "Virus Sample", or "Dangerous New Virus" rather than "Proof of Concept".

Funding (1)

ktappe (747125) | about 7 years ago | (#18633483)

Any chance this project was funded by Symantec or any of the other companies that will now market an iPod version of their security products?

Meh. (1)

ettlz (639203) | about 7 years ago | (#18633547)

So what? There are viruses out there for the HP 48. Make something flexible enough, and someone will distort it.

iPod Linux runs as root? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18634319)

WTF? Does the iPod run the UI as root? I can't see how this "virus" would be effective otherwise, unless the user is also loading their own executables that have write permission, and modifying your own private executables is hardly newsworthy...

iPod Linux virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18634453)

What? Both of them?!

Sony RootKit's Sibling (1)

MBHkewl (807459) | about 7 years ago | (#18634577)

Consider this option:

The virus compiles a list of all multimedia files available in the iPod and whenever connected to a PC, it sends the list along with your serial number to Apple.

This leaves an opening to 2 things, that come to my mind:

1) Targeted marketing
2) Law suites by the RIAA, after they check your name vs. the songs that you actually bought.
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