SourceForge has removed a controversial Ubuntu-based operating system from its Website due to claims the software is laced with Trojans.
Dubbed “Anonymous-OS”, the operating system was downloaded from SourceForge nearly 40,000 times before it was taken down. Affiliates of the Anonymous collective however have been crying foul. One of the more popular Anonymous Twitter accounts, AnonOps, declared Wednesday that the so-called AnonOS was fake and “wrapped in Trojans.” Another account, YourAnonNews, warned users they “can’t vouch for it.”
The OS came with pre-installed tools that can be used for password cracking and scanning for database vulnerabilities, Trend Micro’s Rik Ferguson told BBC News. It also included tools such as Tor that can be used to disguise someone’s online activities, he added. Among those tools were programs like Sql Poison and Sqlmap.
In a statement on their site, the SourceForge team said it normally does not pass judgment on a download based on what someone using it could possibly do, but decided to act after security experts verified it was a security risk “and not merely a distribution of security-related utilities, as the project page implies.”
“This project isn’t transparent with regard to what’s in it,” according to SourceForge. “It is critical that security-related software be completely open to peer review, so that risks may be assessed along with benefits. That is not available in this case, and the result is that people are taking a substantial risk in downloading and installing this distribution. Furthermore, by taking an intentionally misleading name, this project has attempted to capitalize on the press surrounding a well-known movement in order to push downloads of a project that is less than a week old.”
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This is not be the first time someone has been accused of trying to booby-trap software in an attempt to compromise hacktivists. Earlier this year, security researchers at Symantec said they discovered a Trojanized version of the Slowloris DDoS attack tool, though some of members of Anonymous criticized Symantec’s report.
“Proceed with caution if you’re thinking of downloading and installing Anonymous OS, the purported new operating system from the Anonymous collective…the only people who might be impacted by it are those who are foolish enough to knowingly install unknown software onto their computers,” blogged Sophos Senior Technology Consultant Graham Cluley. “Nevertheless, our advice to folks is clear – be wary!”