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Monday, 19 July 2010 12:38

This damn Linux has more holes than swiss cheese


Unlike Microsoft Windows, Linux has a deserved reputation as a bullet-proof operating system. To teach computer security a University lecturer has deliberately produced the most damn vulnerable Linux you'll ever see.


Damn Vulnerable Linux - or DVL for short - sure is a damn vulnerable Linux!

Its developers have spent hours stuffing it full of broken, ill-configured, outdated and exploitable software.

Oh sure, it's still Linux, and the apps in question - Apache, MySQL, PHP, FTP and the like - are usable and were indeed versions in production. You could actually use this as a live Linux system if you really wanted.

The point is, however, you shouldn't. The software loaded has been specially chosen because they have known security vulnerabilities. They can all be hacked, cracked, broken, exploited, tickled and generally misused.

The author of DVL - Dr Thorsten Schneider - came up with the idea so he could give practical lessons in his University classes. After all, the theory behind reverse engineering, buffer overflows, SQL injection and other popular techniques only goes so far. To really teach people how to hack, or how to protect themselves from hacking, you need to show it.


Thus DVL was born. The lessons it contains and the packages it uses were determined based on the collective communities at and

Like any Linux distro, you don't need to run DVL on a dedicated machine. In fact, given its raison d'être you shouldn't. The best recommendation is to devote a virtual machine to it under VirtualBox or some other sandpit environment.

You can download DVL from as a 1.8Gb download.



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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.



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