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Did One Guy Just Stop a Huge Cyberattack?

The New York Times [unpaywalled] – “A Microsoft engineer noticed something was off on a piece of software he worked on. He soon discovered someone was probably trying to gain access to computers all over the world…Recently, while doing some routine maintenance, Mr. Freund inadvertently found a backdoor hidden in a piece of software that is part of the Linux operating system. The backdoor was a possible prelude to a major cyberattack that experts say could have caused enormous damage, if it had succeeded…In the cybersecurity world, a database engineer inadvertently finding a backdoor in a core Linux feature is a little like a bakery worker who smells a freshly baked loaf of bread, senses something is off and correctly deduces that someone has tampered with the entire global yeast supply. It’s the kind of intuition that requires years of experience and obsessive attention to detail, plus a healthy dose of luck…But his digging kept turning up new evidence, and last week, Mr. Freund sent his findings to a group of open-source software developers. The news set the tech world on fire. Within hours, a fix was developed and some researchers were crediting him with preventing a potentially historic cyberattack…”

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