Every minute of every hour of every day, software solutions are difficult at work,
Bite-PC users in the proverbial rear. Many of them go
unnoticed (errors, not posteriors). More still rise to the infamous
level of "bugs that are minor irritations".
Nevertheless, when the stars adjust just like that, an error occurs in a
really brilliant way. And when I say "brilliant", I mean "totally devastating."
and soul-destroying ".
Nowhere are these errors more insidious than when they are in operation
systems (and key components) themselves.
Case in point: an October 2018 error in an update for Windows 10 caused the whole
user folders to be deleted. Documents? Gone. Pictures? They never like
existed at all. This was a singular OS update that evaporated files from
After the belly affected about 1
Then, after the engineering team in Redmond tested and fixed it thoroughly
Gnarly bug, they did the only obvious: unlock the system
update – with another file-destructive problem. This time it was in their un-zip functionality.
Multiple files lost for the time sand.
Severe. It actually happened.
It's not necessarily so much better in Apple countries either.
A little more than a year ago – at the end of November 2017 an error occurred
in Mac OS X (yes, I know they have renamed it "macOS" but I'm stubborn
I call it as I want) that allowed anyone to access all Macintosh root machines
(runs the latest version of the operating system) by following these very complex
- Turn on a Macintosh.
rootas user name and leave the password blank.
- Press Enter.
I know. I know. It will be hard to remember, right?
To Apple's credit, the company managed to release a system update either
quickly, thereby minimizing potential damage. But I want to say the same thing
one requires a "yikes" -positive yet another "yeah".
As satisfying as it is to make fun of Microsoft and Apple, and boy, it is
it ever we in Linux (and general free and open source software world)
is not immune to very embarrassing, crazy destructive errors and safety
What follows are two that I find quite interesting. One is an external exploitation
who had severe ramifications. The other is a local security error that,
Well, I find fun.
Note: There are many errors – more than likely, can be cataloged
every system on the planet. These are just the two I picked.
For the first, let's go back to the year 2014-September 24, to be
exact. Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor dominated the radio. The
The Guardians of the Galaxy were busy doing their galaxy-watching stuff.
And ShellShock was unveiled to the world: a "privilege escalation" bug (or
rather a series of related errors) in Bash that allowed commands to be
executed … it should not be available to that shell instance. Obviously,
That's a bad thing.
Although not technically Linux-specific (it affected several systems like
utilizing the Bash shell), Linux was (due to its popularity in the internet turned
servers) the system that received most of the attention.
By the next day, September 25, 2014, one already found attacks that took advantage
by ShellShock, including botnets targeted to critical web infrastructure and
Defense Ministry in the United States.
Thanks to the hard work of the Bash maintainers, along with those who work with
various Linux distributions, the error was patched, and the patch was released within two more
days for all major Linux systems. Apple, which was also affected by
ShellShock, managed to free up repairs a few days later.
Although these types of problems are never fun – and don't get anyone to see
Good-at least we can comfort in the fact that we (in the Linux world)
Patched our systems before Apple did.
Must take pleasure in the little things in life.
This next bug is rated as my favorite Linux bug of all time . (Yes, I have one
favorite bug. And yes, I agree, it's weird.) A little something goes
Picture yourself in December 2015, sitting in front of your beautiful
computer, running some of a number of major distributions.
You put on the lovely machine and come to Grub (Grub2, to be precise)
Menu. Hit backspace. Then you hit backspace again.
In fact, turn backspace 26 several times (28 total), and boom-you are
entered a rescue shell.
What can you do in the rescue shell? Well, as it turns out, just about
all you can dream up, including, but not limited to, loading a custom
The Linux kernel (allows the rootkit main system)
all kinds of data and even delete Grub itself.
But don't worry, this only affected any version of Grub between 2009 and
2015-so, you know, six years worth of Linux distributions (included
desks, servers, mobile devices and embedded systems). Or, as I like to
call it, "Just about every important, and not so important, computer on
Earth. "Not great.
Once again, the maintainers of the major Linux distributions were right on
The case-most with repairs pressed out to their archives within days (if
not hours) of exploitation being released to the public.
If you're new to Linux's amazing world, and thus didn't get it
To live through the fun moments of time, never fear. If I have learned
All about software, this is:
There will always be more errors. And the odds will be next year
more destructive than the last crop.
Let's just hope they are at least as entertaining as hitting backspace 28