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Why a near-miss cyberattack put US officials and the tech industry on edge

April 8, 2024
A software sabotage incident involving XZ Utils, a lesser-known open source program crucial for internet servers, narrowly avoided triggering a cybersecurity disaster, thanks to the vigilance of Microsoft developer Andres Freund. Freund's discovery of a deliberately inserted backdoor by a new developer, who was later suspected to be an expert hacker or a group working for an intelligence service, highlighted the vulnerabilities in the open source software ecosystem, particularly those maintained by small teams or individual volunteers. This event has sparked intense discussions among tech executives, cybersecurity experts, and government officials on the necessity of bolstering the protection of open source software, which forms the backbone of the internet economy, against espionage and sabotage by well-resourced adversaries.
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