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Defense through collaboration: The use of free software in preventing proprietary software based virus attacks

Shaun Carland

In the summer of 2017, software powering the critical infrastructure of Ukraine came to a grinding halt after the country was hit with a surgically precise targeted cyber attack. A malware virus called NotPetya irreversibly encrypted the files of hundreds of thousands of computers. The impact was devastating: the Chernobyl radiation moderating system was shut down, governmental institutions lost access to critical data, and the total damage was estimated to cost over $100 million. This example, among others, points to an increasing weaponization of vulnerabilities in proprietary software to accomplish these attacks.

This session explores the ways in which proprietary software acts as a catalyst for the spread of cyber attacks, and will explore the use of free software and how it can be used to build resilient, virus-resistant digital infrastructure.


2 years, 3 months ago

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LibrePlanet 2018 video · LibrePlanet 2018 · LibrePlanet · lp2018 · video

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LibrePlanet 2018 Videos and Slides (libreplanet)


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.