Security researchers have discovered a critical vulnerability under the name Grinch Bug, which can be exploited by malicious hackers to acquire unauthorized root access to Linux-based computing systems.
Vulnerability concerns the Linux authorization system and allows for the escalation of privileges through the wheel (Unix terminology).
The new bug leaves Linux system administrators awake a few days after it Poodle - Another deadly error of 2014 - has come back to the forefront. Grinch's vulnerability affects all distributions of the Linux operating system and, according to researchers from Alert Logic, which uncovered the bug last Tuesday, potentially gives root access to any attacker without the use of codes or special encryption keys.
A hacker could exploit the vulnerability either by converting registered user accounts to a wheel or by using the Policy Kit (Polkit), a graphical User Interface used by ordinary users to perform tasks that require administrator privileges .