Unix and Apple computers at risk of ‘bash’ vulnerability

A software flaw has been discovered in Unix-related operating systems that makes them potentially prey to hackers.

Recently, the Health Information Trust Alliance, also known as HITRUST, released a special warning notice urging Unix users to watch out for a vulnerability found in the Bash system. Any operating system derived from Unix is under threat from CVE-2014-6271, a flaw that gives hackers the chance to exploit the system.by creating and distributing malicious code. Because of how common the Bash flaw appears in different systems, the organization insists that there is potential for widespread damage.

Also known as Shellshock, this code weakness is currently being monitored by the Department of Homeland Security, as well as HITRUST, to prevent it from escalating even further. The release compares it to the infamous Heartbleed scare and says that Shellshock has the potential to be even more damaging.

The source lists some of the specific actions that Shellshock allows users to perform, as well as the way it appears. It notes that even though a patch has been released, systems are still under threat.

"This vulnerability occurs during the Bash initial startup, in which new instances incorporate the malicious executable, and is exposed in secure shell (SSH), but only to authenticated sessions. Web applications like CGI scripts may be vulnerable based on a number of factors, including calling other applications through a shell or evaluating sections of code through a shell."

Apple OS may also be affected by this, although the company has said that OS X will be safe in most cases, and is working on a patch to address the Unix faults. The attitude among some specialists, like iMore reporter Rene Ritchie, seems to be more cautious than worried.

All the same, practices should use healthcare consulting firms as a guidepost to figure out which vulnerabilities are most prevalent and dangerous to them.

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