Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

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Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
How do I remove a package that was snuck in?

The Software updater apparently installed a package that was listed as
"Automatically install upgrades" or something like that, because I did
not know how to permanently block it.

Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades", with the
description "automatic installation of security upgrades".

Apparently, this trojan horse has the effect that, to remove it, so as
to revert to manually performing upgrades (which is as it should be),
I have to wreck the system, by removing the desktop system and the
operating system core.

So, how do I remove this trojan horse, without destroying the system?

--
Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
On 17/10/2017, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:

> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?
>
> The Software updater apparently installed a package that was listed as
> "Automatically install upgrades" or something like that, because I did
> not know how to permanently block it.
>
> Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades", with the
> description "automatic installation of security upgrades".
>
> Apparently, this trojan horse has the effect that, to remove it, so as
> to revert to manually performing upgrades (which is as it should be),
> I have to wreck the system, by removing the desktop system and the
> operating system core.
>
> So, how do I remove this trojan horse, without destroying the system?
>

Because of the nature of the package, I have had to block access to
the repositories, and block checking for updates.

--

Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by Bret Busby-2
On 17 October 2017 at 00:51, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?

It wasn't "snuck in". It's got updated. It's been a standard component
for a decade or more.

Rather than panicking, just Google it!

There are dozens of clear helpful how-tos if you just search for
"ubuntu disable unattended-upgrades"

It's not a tool as such. It's an entry in the built-in system
scheduler, cron, part of _all_ Unix systems. As far as I know it's off
by default.

https://help.ubuntu.com/lts/serverguide/automatic-updates.html

https://www.garron.me/en/linux/turn-off-stop-ubuntu-automatic-update.html

Note that the 2nd link is from 5Y ago. This is _not_ new.

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Wynona Stacy Lockwood
In reply to this post by Bret Busby-2
Have you considered another distro that gives you more control?
Slackware perhaps?

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On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 5:51 PM, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:

> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?
>
> The Software updater apparently installed a package that was listed as
> "Automatically install upgrades" or something like that, because I did
> not know how to permanently block it.
>
> Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades", with the
> description "automatic installation of security upgrades".
>
> Apparently, this trojan horse has the effect that, to remove it, so as
> to revert to manually performing upgrades (which is as it should be),
> I have to wreck the system, by removing the desktop system and the
> operating system core.
>
> So, how do I remove this trojan horse, without destroying the system?
>
> --
> Bret Busby
> Armadale
> West Australia
>
> ..............
>
> "So once you do know what the question actually is,
>  you'll know what the answer means."
> - Deep Thought,
>  Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
>  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
>  A Trilogy In Four Parts",
>  written by Douglas Adams,
>  published by Pan Books, 1992
>
> ....................................................
>
> --
> ubuntu-users mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-users

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

C de-Avillez-2
In reply to this post by Bret Busby-2
On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:51:01 +0800
Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Apparently, this trojan horse has the effect that, to remove it, so as
> to revert to manually performing upgrades (which is as it should be),
> I have to wreck the system, by removing the desktop system and the
> operating system core.

Wait. This is a serious assertion: that a security update is a trojan.

So, first of all, what is the package? what is your Ubuntu version?
Which repositories are active, and from where?

Finally, what made you conclude it is a trojan, or any other type of
malware?

Cheers,

..C..

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Ralf Mardorf-2
On Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:34:19 -0500, C de-Avillez wrote:

>On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:51:01 +0800 Bret Busby wrote:
>
>> Apparently, this trojan horse has the effect that, to remove it, so
>> as to revert to manually performing upgrades (which is as it should
>> be), I have to wreck the system, by removing the desktop system and
>> the operating system core.  
>
>Wait. This is a serious assertion: that a security update is a trojan.
>
>So, first of all, what is the package? what is your Ubuntu version?
>Which repositories are active, and from where?
>
>Finally, what made you conclude it is a trojan, or any other type of
>malware?

To keep it short, if the OP should use any third party software, then
everything is possible, but the OP should inform the mailing list
about any installed third party package. If the OP should use software
from official repositories only, then we need to know which package from
official repositories seems to be malicious.


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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Ralf Mardorf-2
> On Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:34:19 -0500, C de-Avillez wrote:
> > Which repositories are active, and from where?

Even if no third party repo should be enabled, already installed third
party software could cause serious security issues, even if the original
third party software wasn't malicious, it might be outdated and now
provide dangerous security wholes.

Bret, did you read the "How did this happen" article?

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/remove-toolbar-has-taken-over-your-
firefox-search#w_how-did-this-happen


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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
On 17/10/2017, Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 17 October 2017 at 00:51, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?
>
> It wasn't "snuck in". It's got updated. It's been a standard component
> for a decade or more.
>

The "snuck in" was not that it hadn't previously been present.

I had observed its presence, previously, and, had deselected it from
installation.

The "snuck in" was that it was installed, inadvertently, against my will.

> Rather than panicking, just Google it!
>
> There are dozens of clear helpful how-tos if you just search for
> "ubuntu disable unattended-upgrades"
>
> It's not a tool as such. It's an entry in the built-in system
> scheduler, cron, part of _all_ Unix systems. As far as I know it's off
> by default.
>
> https://help.ubuntu.com/lts/serverguide/automatic-updates.html
>
> https://www.garron.me/en/linux/turn-off-stop-ubuntu-automatic-update.html
>
> Note that the 2nd link is from 5Y ago. This is _not_ new.
>

That is all very well, but the second link tells how to stop automated
checking for updates, but, not how to prevent automated installation.


--

Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Nils Kassube-2
In reply to this post by Ralf Mardorf-2
Ralf Mardorf wrote:
> Even if no third party repo should be enabled, already installed third
> party software could cause serious security issues, even if the
> original third party software wasn't malicious, it might be outdated
> and now provide dangerous security wholes.
>
> Bret, did you read the "How did this happen" article?
>
> https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/remove-toolbar-has-taken-over-you
> r- firefox-search#w_how-did-this-happen

Maybe you should read the original message? There Bret mentioned
"Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades" which should tell
you that the package in question is "unattended-upgrades". That package
is in main, so there is no need for speculation about third party repos.


Nils


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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
In reply to this post by C de-Avillez-2
On 17/10/2017, C de-Avillez <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:51:01 +0800
> Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Apparently, this trojan horse has the effect that, to remove it, so as
>> to revert to manually performing upgrades (which is as it should be),
>> I have to wreck the system, by removing the desktop system and the
>> operating system core.
>
> Wait. This is a serious assertion: that a security update is a trojan.
>
> So, first of all, what is the package? what is your Ubuntu version?
> Which repositories are active, and from where?
>

The Ubuntu version is
"
$ uname -a
Aspire-V3-772-UbuntuMATE 4.4.0-96-generic #119-Ubuntu SMP Tue Sep 12
14:59:54 UTC 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
"

It is v16.04.x (that appears to be not included in the response to the
uname-a command).

I had explicitly named and described the package

"
Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended-upgrades", with the
description "automatic installation of security upgrades".
"

> Finally, what made you conclude it is a trojan, or any other type of
> malware?
>

1. It is classed as a "Ubuntu base" update.

2. It would do things to my system, that are unwanted and malicious,
including but not limited to, the disruption of my use of the computer
system, such as disrupting my work when it wants to install upgrades,
like MS Windows does, that prevents my wife (wh is an MS Windows user
and software developer) from using her computers, for hours at a time,
when they go into automated system update disruption.
That it is like having cancer with secondaries in the brain, or, like
deliberate infection with AIDS, is that, in trying to remove it
(Synaptic -> Mark for removal), the message comes up

"
The following changes are required in order to proceed.
To be removed
ubuntu-mate-core
ubuntu-mate-desktop
"

If it was not like having cancer with secondaries in the brain; if it
was not like being deliberately infected with AIDS; if it was not a
trojan, it would be able to be safely excised without affecting any
other package.

As it is, it has eliminated Ubuntu as being, for me, a trusted and
recommended operating system, and, lowers the status of Ubuntu Linux,
to the same status, for usability and trustworthiness, as MS Windows.

The package should never have been included in the software updater as
it is, as part of the "Ubuntu base", in the Ubuntu Software Updater,
but, for anyone who wants it, they should have needed to seek it out,
and install it as an optional add-on, using something like the Ubuntu
Software Centre.

So, to me, the inclusion of that package, the nature of the package,
and, what is required to remove that package, make that package a
deliberate act of sabotage.

--

Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Ralf Mardorf-2
On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:32:13 +0200, Nils Kassube wrote:
>Maybe you should read the original message? There Bret mentioned
>"Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades" which should tell
>you that the package in question is "unattended-upgrades". That
>package is in main, so there is no need for speculation about third
>party repos.

If you should have followed all "trojan" related mails from Bret, you
wouldn't assume that the culprit for the assumption that his install
might suffer from malicious software not necessarily is related to
"unattended-upgrades". Bret is guessing a lot.

On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:55:37 +0800, Bret Busby wrote:
>It is v16.04.x (that appears to be not included in the response to the
>uname-a command).

The command is lsb_release.

[root@moonstudio ~]# lsb_release -a
LSB Version: core-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-amd64:core-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-noarch:security-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-amd64:security-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-noarch
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS
Release: 16.04
Codename: xenial



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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Colin Law
In reply to this post by Bret Busby-2
On 16 October 2017 at 23:51, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?
>
> The Software updater apparently installed a package that was listed as
> "Automatically install upgrades" or something like that, because I did
> not know how to permanently block it.
>
> Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades", with the
> description "automatic installation of security upgrades".no

No need to panic, just go to the Updates tab Software & Updates (not
certain what it was called in 16.04, something like that) and specify
what you want the system to do with updates.

I have to ask whether you are using the right OS for your needs. You
seem find so many aspects of it so seriously flawed that I wonder
whether you would be better with a system that gives you more control
of what goes on. Windows 10 perhaps?

Colin

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
In reply to this post by Ralf Mardorf-2
On 17/10/2017, Ralf Mardorf <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:32:13 +0200, Nils Kassube wrote:
>>Maybe you should read the original message? There Bret mentioned
>>"Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades" which should tell
>>you that the package in question is "unattended-upgrades". That
>>package is in main, so there is no need for speculation about third
>>party repos.
>
> If you should have followed all "trojan" related mails from Bret, you
> wouldn't assume that the culprit for the assumption that his install
> might suffer from malicious software not necessarily is related to
> "unattended-upgrades". Bret is guessing a lot.
>
> On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:55:37 +0800, Bret Busby wrote:
>>It is v16.04.x (that appears to be not included in the response to the
>>uname-a command).
>
> The command is lsb_release.
>
> [root@moonstudio ~]# lsb_release -a
> LSB
> Version: core-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-amd64:core-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-noarch:security-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-amd64:security-9.20160110ubuntu0.2-noarch
> Distributor ID: Ubuntu
> Description: Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS
> Release: 16.04
> Codename: xenial
>

Thank you for that.

On this system, it shows

"
~$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS
Release: 16.04
Codename: xenial
"

with the same response on the (now) infected system.


--

Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
In reply to this post by Colin Law
On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 16 October 2017 at 23:51, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?
>>
>> The Software updater apparently installed a package that was listed as
>> "Automatically install upgrades" or something like that, because I did
>> not know how to permanently block it.
>>
>> Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades", with the
>> description "automatic installation of security upgrades".no
>
> No need to panic, just go to the Updates tab Software & Updates (not
> certain what it was called in 16.04, something like that) and specify
> what you want the system to do with updates.
>
> I have to ask whether you are using the right OS for your needs. You
> seem find so many aspects of it so seriously flawed that I wonder
> whether you would be better with a system that gives you more control
> of what goes on. Windows 10 perhaps?
>

I gave up completely on MS Windows, with v8 - it was simply too
difficult to use.

From what my wife has told me about MS Win10, it is absolutely hostile
and unusable, and it spends most of its time, playing with itself, and
not letting an intended user, do anything useful with it.

Ubuntu Linux was one of only two non-MS operating systems, that was
capable of driving the CPU on this computer, and, the only one capable
of driving the graphics on this computer.

It took me about 18 months to 2 years, to get this computer working
with a usable operating system.

Having forgotten the Win8 password for this computer, when the other
non-MS operating system is capable of driving the graphics on this
system, I am looking at replacing the Win8 installation (all 250GB
that it takes up), with the other OS.

The other OS, I think, has a bit of a learning curve.

So far, Ubuntu had fallen under the Ford Prefect designation, of
"Mostly harmless".

Until now.

--

Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Colin Law
On 17 October 2017 at 08:38, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 16 October 2017 at 23:51, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?
>>>
>>> The Software updater apparently installed a package that was listed as
>>> "Automatically install upgrades" or something like that, because I did
>>> not know how to permanently block it.
>>>
>>> Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades", with the
>>> description "automatic installation of security upgrades".no
>>
>> No need to panic, just go to the Updates tab Software & Updates (not
>> certain what it was called in 16.04, something like that) and specify
>> what you want the system to do with updates.
>>
>> I have to ask whether you are using the right OS for your needs. You
>> seem find so many aspects of it so seriously flawed that I wonder
>> whether you would be better with a system that gives you more control
>> of what goes on. Windows 10 perhaps?
>>
>
> I gave up completely on MS Windows, with v8 - it was simply too
> difficult to use.

That was supposed to be sarcasm.

> ..
> So far, Ubuntu had fallen under the Ford Prefect designation, of
> "Mostly harmless".
>
> Until now.

So did you manage to find the settings to change it as I described?

Colin

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 17 October 2017 at 08:38, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> On 16 October 2017 at 23:51, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> How do I remove a package that was snuck in?
>>>>
>>>> The Software updater apparently installed a package that was listed as
>>>> "Automatically install upgrades" or something like that, because I did
>>>> not know how to permanently block it.
>>>>
>>>> Synaptic shows it (I think) as unattended upgrades", with the
>>>> description "automatic installation of security upgrades".no
>>>
>>> No need to panic, just go to the Updates tab Software & Updates (not
>>> certain what it was called in 16.04, something like that) and specify
>>> what you want the system to do with updates.
>>>
>>> I have to ask whether you are using the right OS for your needs. You
>>> seem find so many aspects of it so seriously flawed that I wonder
>>> whether you would be better with a system that gives you more control
>>> of what goes on. Windows 10 perhaps?
>>>
>>
>> I gave up completely on MS Windows, with v8 - it was simply too
>> difficult to use.
>
> That was supposed to be sarcasm.
>
>> ..
>> So far, Ubuntu had fallen under the Ford Prefect designation, of
>> "Mostly harmless".
>>
>> Until now.
>
> So did you manage to find the settings to change it as I described?
>

Without information (details) otherwise, I think this was already
covered in the thread, where all that I could do, was to stop the
checking for updates, but I could not stop the automated installation
of updates/upgrades, once they are found (whether they are found
manually or by automation).

--

Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Colin Law
On 17 October 2017 at 09:32, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> ..
>> So did you manage to find the settings to change it as I described?
>>
>
> Without information (details) otherwise, I think this was already
> covered in the thread, where all that I could do, was to stop the
> checking for updates, but I could not stop the automated installation
> of updates/upgrades, once they are found (whether they are found
> manually or by automation).
>

On the Updates tab what options do you see against "When there are
security updates:"?

Colin

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Bret Busby-2
On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 17 October 2017 at 09:32, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> ..
>>> So did you manage to find the settings to change it as I described?
>>>
>>
>> Without information (details) otherwise, I think this was already
>> covered in the thread, where all that I could do, was to stop the
>> checking for updates, but I could not stop the automated installation
>> of updates/upgrades, once they are found (whether they are found
>> manually or by automation).
>>
>
> On the Updates tab what options do you see against "When there are
> security updates:"?
>

In Software Updater -> Settings, which takes me to Software & Updates,
in the Updates tab, in the line with the box with the label "When
there are security updates", three options are displayed:
Display immediately
Download automatically
Download and install automatically

It has occurred to me, from that, that you might suggest that I
restore the options to automatically check for updates, and, in that
box, select the option
Display immediately

and that I should thence be safe from the updates being automatically installed.

But, with the package
" unattended-upgrades", with the
description "automatic installation of security upgrades"
 I am not confident that anything other than the removal of that
package, would prevent "automatic installation of security upgrades".

--

Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia

..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Colin Law
On 17 October 2017 at 10:24, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 17 October 2017 at 09:32, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> On 17/10/2017, Colin Law <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> ..
>>>> So did you manage to find the settings to change it as I described?
>>>>
>>>
>>> Without information (details) otherwise, I think this was already
>>> covered in the thread, where all that I could do, was to stop the
>>> checking for updates, but I could not stop the automated installation
>>> of updates/upgrades, once they are found (whether they are found
>>> manually or by automation).
>>>
>>
>> On the Updates tab what options do you see against "When there are
>> security updates:"?
>>
>
> In Software Updater -> Settings, which takes me to Software & Updates,
> in the Updates tab, in the line with the box with the label "When
> there are security updates", three options are displayed:
> Display immediately
> Download automatically
> Download and install automatically
>
> It has occurred to me, from that, that you might suggest that I
> restore the options to automatically check for updates, and, in that
> box, select the option
> Display immediately
>
> and that I should thence be safe from the updates being automatically installed.
>
> But, with the package
> " unattended-upgrades", with the
> description "automatic installation of security upgrades"
>  I am not confident that anything other than the removal of that
> package, would prevent "automatic installation of security upgrades".

The best way to get confidence is to try it. If you find it does still
upgrade without asking then file a bug. I have it as you suggest and
as far as I know it has never installed anything behind my back.

I would also query your use of the word 'safe' in "that I should
thence be safe from the updates being automatically installed".  If
you choose not to install security upgrades then by definition you are
not safe. I accept the slight increase in risk by selecting it to just
notify me as mostly I believe I know what I am doing, but for less
knowledgeable users the default of automatically installing security
upgrades is the best option. To call this a Trojan is ludicrous,
particularly as it is so easily disabled.

Colin

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Re: Software updater snuck in a package that is unwanted

Oliver Grawert
In reply to this post by Bret Busby-2
hi,
Am Dienstag, den 17.10.2017, 06:51 +0800 schrieb Bret Busby:

>
> So, how do I remove this trojan horse, without destroying the system?
>

this is an extremely funny statement given this is the package that
exactly prevents you from getting any trojans viruses or other
malicious bits on your system.

by default this simply notifies you about available fixes for security
holes that could be used by either of the above harmful bits of
software ... 

the configuration options for its behaviour are (as others pointed out
already) integrated in the software panel of the system settings, there
is no need to enable automatic downloads or automatic installs in there
if you do not want them, but i would not un-install it since you will
miss the info that your system is exposing a security hole that any
kind of attacking software could use to infect your system.

if you want to remove it anyway, there is no harm in doing so but it
will remove the ubuntu-desktop and ubuntu-base meta-packages (which do
not contain anything but a list of dependencies) alongside... if you do
that, make sure to re-install these packages before doing a release to
release upgrade (i.e. upgrading from 16.04 to 18.04 or some such), this
is the only moment they are actually required ...

ciao
        oli
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