KernelCare Blog

If anyone tells you that they know how to secure linux, but they fail to mention live patching – don’t listen to them. Keeping servers automatically up to date is key to keeping them safe. In the complex security question of how to secure Linux, patching live, in real-time, is the missing link.

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You've just installed a kernel update, and now you need to carry out a Linux reboot. Except guess what? You don’t. Word is only just starting to get out, but times have changed, and rebooting is a thing of the past. This is a very positive development: because rebooting to patch is a hassle, companies frequently delay it for as long as they can – with damaging consequences.

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Linux kernel updates are a fact of life–as dull as taxes and only slightly less inconvenient than death. Newly discovered security vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel seem to appear with monotonous regularity. In most but not all cases, the patches needed to fix them follow swiftly after. There is work involved in installing the latest Linux kernel security patches, and danger if you delay–leave it too long and threat actors might take advantage of the period of vulnerability.

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Contents
1. About the Zombieload/MDS Vulnerability
2. Patch Release Schedule

About the Zombieload/MDS Vulnerability

Vulnerabilities are becoming like celebrities, with freaky names and their own websites.

The latest ones to hit the scene are Zombieload, RIDL and Fallout, also known as Microarchitectural Data Sampling, (MDS for short), discovered by Intel and researched by academic departments at security-focused institutions around the world. These vulnerabilities are in the same vein as Spectre and Meltdown, being design flaws that reveal data. Zombieload is particularly worrying because it affects all Intel Core and Xeon CPUs manufactured since 2011.

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Organizations use cloud services like AWS to be more agile and more profitable. This doesn’t stop them spending millions of dollars on cybersecurity, investing in network defense and end-point protection, hiring consultants, and purchasing threat intelligence reports.

But companies still get hacked, and still suffer data breaches and server compromises, often traceable to out-of-date software, either at the application level, or in the OS itself.

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