Why Do You Need to Patch Raspberry Pi? | Hacker Noon

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Preventing dangerous patch delays with rebootless updates.

Since its introduction in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has revolutionized how people interact with computers. The best thing about the Raspberry Pi is its price. While other computer manufacturers produce systems that can run as high as thousands of dollars, a fully functioning Raspberry Pi often costs between $ 50 to $100, and sometimes less.

This price point makes it the logical choice for many that want home computing but previously couldn’t afford it.

Keeping enterprise and home computing costs even lower, the Raspberry Pi utilizes a Linux operating system and the open-source freeware model. There is, however, a downside. Because of its open-source nature, the source code could be analyzed by malicious actors and allow for targeted attacks.

One particularly infamous attack involves IoT. Using the so-called “shadow IoT,” cybercriminals hijack devices such as the Raspberry Pi and use them to host malware that in turn performs Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Hackers string together thousands of hijacked devices and target specific computer networks to shut them down.

Added to the cybersecurity threats is the size of the typical Raspberry Pi, which is often the size of a credit card. In April 2018, a hacker broke into NASA’s network and stole 500 Mb of data about the ongoing Mars mission. Someone working at JPL attached a Raspberry Pi to their network. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) inadequate security protocols did not vet the device before it was attached. Consequently, the hacker accessed NASA’s network using the attached Raspberry Pi. 

JPL could have avoided this cyberattack with enhanced security protocols and live kernel patching. As is the case with other Linux systems, the Raspberry Pi can be live patched without the need to reboot. Utilizing KernelCare’s honeypot model, the April 2018 cyberattack likely would not have happened.

From the moment a user connects their Linux-enabled Raspberry Pi to the internet, it is exposed to common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE). These CVEs are public knowledge because they are documented in publicly available databases. The Linux community does this so that users can update their computers and avoid cyberattacks. The list of common CVEs regularly grows, which means users must periodically update their computers with the latest patch.

The traditional updating method common among Linux-based systems is the Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) via a terminal window. This method only works for updates within specific major releases. Upgrading from one major release to the next requires more steps, which can be problematic. For example, there may not be enough space available for the upgrade.

Generally speaking, only advanced Linux users know how to upgrade major distributions. And even in these cases, it sometimes does not work correctly. Even advanced users might have issues upgrading multiple devices that are geographically spread out in an IoT network. Thankfully, there are third-party solutions, such as KernelCare’s Live Patching for IoT.

The average home enthusiast Raspberry Pi user likely knows little about being a Linux superuser. Unfortunately, cybercriminals look for these users because they are the easiest to exploit. Linux-based computers need attention. This is where KernelCare Live Patching for Raspberry Pi comes into play.

Best of all, it is free.

How does kernel patching for Raspberry Pi work? Once initiated, KernelCare’s live patching allocates part of the memory and loads the updated code. This is a friendly takeover, which momentarily puts all affected processes in a type of safe pause mode. The code pointing to the old vulnerable code is then pointed to the new updated code. This isolates the old code where vulnerabilities exist. In the last step, the memory goes back to the system and is taken out of safe mode to resume normal operations. There is never a need to reboot.


The use of the IoT to automate our lives will only grow in the coming years. With the advent of affordable home computing such as the Raspberry Pi, even a home enthusiast can explore automation using the IoT. Given its price point and ease of use, the Raspberry Pi has also made its way into the enterprise environment for commercial use.

At KernelCare, we invite the home enthusiast to participate in our free live kernel patching for Raspberry Pi. As you enjoy the peace of mind that comes from KernelCare’s unmatched security, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. If you are a commercial user, you’ll find our pricing to be well worth the expense.


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