Ubuntu: Linux for Human Rights?
April 29th, 2008 by scaredpoet


With the Human Rights situation in Tibet making headlines just 100 days before the start of the Beijing Olympics, it’s interesting to see that this issue has become a perfect battleground for Information warfare on the web, and in particular, suspected Chinese hackers who sympathize with the State.

Right now, web site intrusions and malware attacks are seeing a particularly large spike. Part of it has to do with an ongoing SQL injection vulnerability that’s hitting an estimated half a million websites as this is being written. Some of those sites included those belonging to the United Nations, as well as numerous small businesses, nonprofits, and local and state governments. The cause? Running Microsoft’s Web Services Platform, known as IIS.

Microsoft denies blame for the problem. Though, it is kinda funny that so far ONLY Microsoft servers have proven vulnerable.

The bad news? There appears to be no patch as of yet to solve the problem.

The solution? For now, pray. Or, switch to Mac or Linux.

The same advice goes for those whoa re running pro-Tibetan web sites. Pro-open-source site is distributing a document in PDF format that details an ongoing spate of hacking incidents targeting web sites sympathetic to Tibet. Ironcove also infers that the Chinese government may be involved, or sanctioning the attacks:

Over the past two months there has been a significant increase in targeted malware and other attacks against the Tibetan Community and its supporters. has put together a paper that covers the various attacks and looks into the possibility and extent of Chinese Government involvement in those attacks. We have also highlighted the fact that many of these attacks would be ineffective against an Ubuntu Desktop operating system.

Ubuntu did just recently release its latest version of its operating system, 8.04, last week. response to the new OS seems quite high: people are reporting difficulties downloading the free disk images from the foundation’s overloaded servers, and support volunteers are recommend the use of Bittorrent instead to obtain the install CD ISOs.

If Ironcove’s claims are true, it’s a definite plus for the linux community that all of the hack attempts and malware exploits in use by organized hackers appear to have no effect on this particular distro. Aside from being free, Ubuntu is considered one of the friendlier linux-based operating systems out there, complete with Windows-like GUI, the ability to easily run on a computer already running Microsoft Windows, automatic updates, and even an uninstall feature for people who change their mind. The OpenOffice packages that come pre-packaged can even read and write to MS-Office documents, ensuring compatibility with the rest of the world.

Definitely a good alternative for those who need absolute security. And it’s way, way cheaper than getting a Mac.

By the way: The Tibetan Government In Exile is indeed using Microsoft-based web servers.

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