[Beowulf] Security issues

Kilian CAVALOTTI kilian.cavalotti.work at gmail.com
Fri Oct 24 01:55:54 PDT 2008

Jon Aquilina wrote:
> did this person use the ssh exploit that red hat found a few months ago?

Apparently not. From what Joe wrote, "the entry point was via a shared 
user account". This account has been compromised, either with 
brute-force ssh login attempts, or was socially engineered, it's not clear.

Nothing seems to indicate (as far as I can tell) that the entry point 
was due to some weakness in one of the Rocks components. I second Mitch 
in saying that this break-in isn't Rocks specific, but rather the result 
of poor (lack of?) administration practices (especially from what I 
could read here: http://scalability.org/?p=905, and assuming it's about 
the same customer).

On the other hand, it's true that Rocks' philosophy (which I'm not a big 
proponent of) doesn't make updates easy, nor encourage keeping systems 
up-to-date. It tends to focus on the Windowsian "reinstall the whole 
machine" approach in case of problem. Which makes perfect sense in 
specific contexts, where no dedicated administration resources are 
available, or where compute time is critical and understanding the root 
cause of technical problems not so important.

But this can also lead to the kind of security problem Joe described, 
even if here, I don't think one can blame any of the system's component 
being outdated for this intrusion.


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