Home page logo

bugtraq logo Bugtraq mailing list archives

Fw: Bypassing Inherited Rights Filters in Novell Directory Services. (fwd)
From: William Diehl III <willdieh () LASIERRA EDU>
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2000 11:20:32 -0700

Has this been verified by Foghornsecurity.com?

When attempting to replicate the procedure as listed below, I was unable to
repeat the security risk.

As I understand it, IRFs and explicit rights access work PROPERLY and in the
following fashion:

-    An IRF will filter INHERITED rights

-    An IRF will NOT filter any explicit rights to any objects AT OR BELOW
the IRF level in the tree

-    Because the procedure below adds the "Write" right to the ACL of the OU
ABOVE the IRF and sets it as INHERITABLE, it _will_ be blocked by the IRF
because 1. it becomes an inherited right and 2. the explicit assignment is
made above the IRF

I am running Netware 5.0 service pack 5 with eDirectory (NDS 8).

If this has indeed been verified and repeated by someone else, please let me

William Diehl
Network Administrator
LaSierra University
Riverside, CA

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 19:24:00 -0700
From: FogHorn Security <info () FOGHORNSECURITY COM>
Subject: Bypassing Inherited Rights Filters in Novell Directory Services.

                             FOGHORN SECURITY ADVISORY


                                 September 7, 2000


          Bypassing Inherited Rights Filters in Novell Directory Services.


A design weakness in NDS as shipped with Novell v5.0 and later
can allow certain users to bypass IRF's, and gain escalation of

Serious.  Even in a well designed tree IRF's are sometimes needed to
more sensitive objects.  This issue, if not carefully considered, can
render IRF's ineffective, and expose sensitive information.


In NDS, rights are assigned in three ways:

Rights to an object [Object Rights]
Rights to all properties of an object [All Properties Rights]
Rights to selected properties of an object [Selected Properties Rights]

By default, rights granted at one level of a directory tree automatically
flow down to lower levels in the tree.  This inheritance of rights can be
blocked by using Inherited Rights Filters [IRFs].  IRFs can be set for
any of the three types of rights mentioned above.


In previous versions of NDS, only Object Rights, and All Properties Rights
could be inherited.  In Netware 5.0, Novell added the ability to make
Selected Property Rights inheritable.  These rights are not blocked by
IRFs set for Object Rights or All Properties Rights.  They can only be
blocked by the creation of an explicit IRF for each property you need to

Obviously, this is unworkable in the real world.  Setting individual IRFs
for every property in the schema is tedious and prone to error, and it is
extremely difficult to anticipate all possible exploits for all
Additionally, if the schema is extended, the new properties would be
unprotected until IRFs were updated.

This also presents a problem for sites upgrading from Novell 4.11.  If
issue is not addressed in the upgrade process, IRF's which were previously
valid, could be rendered ineffective.


Active exploitation of this feature requires Write rights to the Object
Trustees ACL property of a container at or above the level of the object

Here's an example. An administrator, .BOB.ACME, has Supervisor [S] rights
the .ACME container. There is a container, .SECRET.ACME, which BOB should
have any access to.

Joe, .JOE.SECRET.ACME, is the administrator of .SECRET.ACME.  Joe has
been given S rights to SECRET, and an IRF has been put in place on SECRET
blocking all Object Rights, and all All Properties Rights.  This scenario
is in
line with standard practice, and Novell's own documentation [See TID#
Unfortunately, Bob can still gain full control of secret.

1] Bob modifies the trustees list of .ACME granting himself the Write [W]
right to the Object Trustees ACL property and designates this right as

2] Since Selected Properties Rights are not explictly blocked by the IRF
at .SECRET.ACME, Bob can now add himself to the trustee list of the
SECRET container and obtain full privileges.


In addition to active exploits, this issue could result in administrators
inadvertently granting rights to objects they believe to be protected by
For instance, Help Desk staff may be granted password reset rights by
Selected Properties Rights at a high level in the tree, and making those
inheritable.  Those rights can only be blocked with an explicit Selected
Properties IRF at the containers or objects you need protected.


It is impossible to anticipate all the scenarios where this *feature*
could be exploited.  Administrators should carefully evaluate their tree
and permission structures with this problem in mind.

At a minimum, where IRFs are used to protect objects or containers, the
following properties should be protected by explicit IRFs:

Object Trustees [ACL]
Security Equal to Me
Password Required
Password Management
Incorrect Login Attempts

There are certainly others that would need to be protected as well.
Finding additional exploits is left as an exercise for the reader.
[Hint: Audit Objects]


We believe that Novell should either,

a) Make IRFs set for All Properties Rights apply to Selected Properties
   Rights as well


b) Provide a method whereby all Selected Properties Rights could be
filtered with a single IRF.


This is a classic example of adding functionality without fully
considering the
implications.  While we do not consider this to be a *bug*, it is clearly
poorly designed *feature*.  We could not find any reference to this on
support website.  In fact, as referenced above, Novell's own documentation
[TID# 10011973 - last updated on June 29, 2000] does not address this

In that document, they answer the question, "How do I create an admin for
container that cuts off the main admin?"  They do not specify the
filtering of
Selected Properties Rights, and thus leave readers open to this

Safe Computing,

-FogHorn Security Staff

  By Date           By Thread  

Current thread:
  • Fw: Bypassing Inherited Rights Filters in Novell Directory Services. (fwd) William Diehl III (Sep 08)
[ Nmap | Sec Tools | Mailing Lists | Site News | About/Contact | Advertising | Privacy ]