A Man from Florida Held for Hacking Linux Kernel Organisation

As per announcement by Department of Justice on Thursday, a South Florida computer programmer was arrested on last week for apparently hacking into the servers connected to operating system of Linux. The case works like reminder that hackers even can target websites, which hosted and distributed operating systems on our devices.

27-year old Donald Ryan Austin is charged for deliberately damaging 4 counts of “intentional transmission causing damage to a protected computer” after intentionally hacking Linux Foundation and Linux Kernel Organisation in the year 2011. The kernel.org site, which distributed Linux kernel is run by Linux Kernel Organisation. Another group, Linux Foundation supported the kernel.org.

More precisely, programmer is charged and accused for installing rootkit as well as trojan software on servers for trying stealing credentials of the authorized users connected to them through SSH.

Computerworld.com posted on September 2nd, 2016, stating that Austin deliberately accessed servers by using credentials of system administrator from Linux Kernel Organisation, which is a public benefit corporation responsible for distribution of Linux kernel along with other open source software.

As per the prosecution, Austin’s goal was to “gain access to the software distributed through the www.kernel.org website,” probably to damage it. Austin is accused for leaving the messages on system for the others to find, as well as also for private email server hacking of one Linux Foundation member. Few servers of Linux remain offline for nearly one month, while the administrators picked over the files for ensuring that attacker had not left any other nasty surprises there.

On Monday, Austin appears in a Miami federal court; and on Thursday got released on a bond. He is slated to appear on 21st September in court for a fresh hearing in San Francisco, where Linux Foundation is based. If convicted, then he will have maximum imprisonment of 10 yrs. and a US$ 250,000 fine.

It takes the team of kernel.org 17 days for discovering the hack, and the administrators have never released the incident report detailing about data breach.


. . . . . . . .

Leave a Reply