INDEX Friday March 5, 2021
Hackers invade Linux
Linux is supposed to be pretty much immune to viruses. Perhaps, there's a thieves agreement that the OS that many of them use is left alone. Perhaps, it lacks some of the back doors thoughtfully left by the purveyors of commercial software and exploited by the security services and hackers. Perhaps, it's just better written. Who knows?

I am very much a novice, but I use Linux: specifically the Ubuntu version. One of the things that comes packed with the set up when you get Ubuntu is a service called Livepatch.

For me Livepatch is almost irrelevant. It is designed to automatically up date an OS on the fly. This can be very useful if you are running a large network that needs to operate 24 hours a day.

I do not run a network and I don't care if my system has to shut down every now and then. But I noticed that Livepatch, was being disabled. Now I might not want it but if I'm being told I can't have it, suddenly it seems valuable to me. I don't think I am unusual in that.

Livepatch disappeared on January 31, February 16 and most recently today, March 5. Today's disappearance was the most mysterious. Livepatch not only left the screen but information about it was nowhere to be found in the help file or the setup.

To find it I had to go online and search a Ubuntu website. This told me I had to log into my Ubuntu One account, which is annoying for two reasons. When I first registered for Ubuntu One I was told that I would hardly need to remember the password since my browser (Firefox) would do so. It never has.

Secondly, every time I try to log into Ubuntu One it tells me I have the wrong password. I never manage to log in using my carefully recorded password.

So I got it to send me another email link so I could re-set my password. This took more than 15 minutes, which I regard as an excessively long time to receive an email (and yes I was regularly downloading my new emails during that time).

Using Ubuntu One it was easy to get my Livepatch working again. But what a waste of time. I will never get that time back.

I believe I am being hacked by a government, or more likely an agency sub contracted by a government. I do not object to surveillance. I welcome it because it would confirm what the security services already know, which is that I am not a criminal or a terrorist. It would also be time limited, I think. At some stage the surveillance warrant would come to an end.

But this harassment never ends.
Posted by Jonathan Brind.
Friday March 5, 2021