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Re: Unexpected and dangerous AIX 4.X linker behavior
From: dan-bugtraq () DILVISH SPEED NET (Dan Harkless)
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 16:56:36 -0800

Gregory Neil Shapiro <gshapiro () SENDMAIL ORG> writes:
Valdis Kletnieks of Virginia Tech alerted the Sendmail Consortium to a
potentially dangerous side-effect of the AIX 4.X linker.  Unlike most other
linkers, the AIX linker uses the paths specified at compile time for the
program's shared library search path at run time.  Therefore, AIX
compilations which use the -L flag with the AIX linker must use extra
precautions to prevent security problems.

I just did some testing and the problem is not limited to IBM's native
linker.  Executables linked using my copy of GNU ld:

    % /usr/local/bin/ld -v
    GNU ld version 2.9.1 (with BFD 2.9.1)

exhibit the same vulnerability.  It would seem the GNU ld authors
intentionally emulated the harmful behavior of /usr/ccs/bin/ld.

Most other systems do not use paths specified using the -L option into the
runtime search path.  For example, on Solaris you would use -R for this,
for gcc you would use -rpath, and so forth, thus avoiding this problem.
(However, gcc on SunOS 4 _does_ have the problem if you don't use -rpath,
at least according to the man page.)

Um, I don't believe -rpath is a gcc option.  It's a GNU ld option, analagous
to IBM ld's -blibpath option.


Programs in this situation should begin using the '-blibpath' option when
using the AIX linker.  This option states that only the specified library
directories should be used at run time for library paths.  For example:

   /usr/bin/xlc -blibpath:/usr/lib:/lib:/usr/local/lib

If using gcc and GNU ld, that'd be:

    gcc -Wl,-rpath /usr/lib -Wl,-rpath /lib -Wl,-rpath /usr/local/lib

Dan Harkless                   | To prevent SPAM contamination, please
dan-bugtraq () dilvish speed net  | do not mention this private email
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  • Re: Unexpected and dangerous AIX 4.X linker behavior Dan Harkless (Mar 16)
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