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The backdoor in XZ Utils must allow malicious code to enter

The backdoor in XZ Utils must allow malicious code to enter

38-year-old developer Anders Freund prevented much of what could have happened: he discovered a vulnerability in the XZ Utils compression software. It is possible that a backdoor intentionally inserted into the software was used to insert codes and execute commands on millions of targeted computers.

According to Spiegel, the program is pre-installed on many Linux systems. Servers, development computers, and even IoT devices may be affected.

According to Heise, versions 5.6.0 and later of XZ Utils are affected. Users are advised to downgrade until a new, secure version is available.

For a long time, XZ Utils software was maintained solely by developer Lasse Collin. A few years ago he announced that he would now be working with developer Jia Tan. According to Spiegel, it was Tan who finally backdoored the open source software.

It has not yet been possible to find out who is behind the name Jia Tan. However, it is believed that it is actually a whole group of well-trained attackers with a lot of resources.

However, according to security researcher Kevin Beaumont, there is no reason to panic. Until now, the backdoor has not been able to reach stable Linux releases widely enough. The attack was detected in time and thus repelled.

“If someone had managed to introduce a large-scale backdoor, things could have become incredibly dangerous later on,” Beaumont told Golem.de. The affected code is currently rarely used in any company.

The first traces of the tailgate can already be found in XZ Utils in 2021. According to Beaumont, the attacker or attackers had a high level of knowledge and skill.

According to Heise Online, the people behind it have tried several times to influence the further development of various open source platforms. The malicious code must be widely distributed. The code has been partially hidden as a bug fix.