The University of Minnesota can no longer contribute to the Linux kernel after receiving a ban by one of its maintainers. The Institution got the ban because researchers from the school had knowingly submitted code with security flaws.
Two researchers from the university released a paper detailing how they had submitted known security vulnerabilities to the Linux kernel. They say the aim was to show how potentially malicious codes could get through the approval process.
That was early this year; afterward, another student from the university submitted code to the kernel that reportedly does nothing. Kernel maintainer and Linux Foundation fellow, Greg Kroah-Hartman, has released a statement calling for all kernel maintainers to reject any code submissions from anyone using a umn.edu email address.
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Also, the maintainer will remove and re-review all of the code the institution has submitted in the past. Kroah-Hartman states that the developer community doesn’t appreciate “being experimented on”. He also says that it is calling all the codes from the university into question due to the research.
The university says it’s aware of the research and the ban. It says that that line of research and will now investigate the approval and methodology of the study. It’s also placing that line of research under suspension.
“Leadership in the University of Minnesota Department of Computer Science & Engineering learned today about the details of research being conducted by one of its faculty members and graduate students into the security of the Linux Kernel. The research method used raised serious concerns in the Linux Kernel community and, as of today, this has resulted in the University being banned from contributing to the Linux Kernel. We take this situation extremely seriously”, Mats Heimdahl, Department Head, and Loren Terveen, Associate Department Head said in a statement on behalf of the school.
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The school further says this line of research is now under suspension. “We will investigate the research method and the process by which this research method was approved, determine appropriate remedial action, and safeguard against future issues if needed. We will report our findings back to the community as soon as practical,” the statement says.
The researchers in their defense say that their intention was to bring attention to issues with the submission process. They say that the aim was to show that potentially malicious bugs could slip through the kernel’s submission process.
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