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Re: Glibc Local Root Exploit
From: Gordon Messmer <yinyang () EBURG COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 14:35:47 -0800

ssh is installed SUID root so that you can use RHOSTS authentication.
Like rlogin and rsh, rhosts authentication only succeeds if the remote
connection was opened on a privileged port, that is, under 1024 (the
protocols may be more specific than that).

The theory is that if a remote machine connects to the server, _and_ that
machine is listed as a trusted host, _and_ the connection originated on a
privileged port, then the server can accept a connection given only a
username because: the program opening the connection must be either run by
root, or a SUID application.  If it's SUID, then it's the system rlogin or
rsh or ssh binary; users can't make SUID root binaries.  If it's the
system binary, then it will only give the username of the person that ran
the program, so they can't "lie" about their identity.

As bad as rhosts style authentication is, it's still used in a lot of

As long as you aren't using RHOSTS style authentication, then ssh should
continue to work in the default configuration.  I'm not sure there is such
a recourse for rlogin or rsh.  In any case, removing SUID from ssh isn't a
good fix, since any other SUID root application that resolves hostsnames
will still be affected (like rsh or rlogin ;)

On Wed, 10 Jan 2001, Pedro Margate wrote:

The implementations of ssh that I'm familiar with (ssh and OpenSSH)
install the ssh binary as suid root by default.  This can be disabled
during configuration or after the fact with chmod.  I believe that would
prevent this exploit from operating.  I've turned off the suid bit on
every ssh installation I've performed and it seems to work the same.  I'm
not sure what reason ssh has to be suid root, nobody I've asked has any

If I had a dollar for every brain that you don't have,
        I'd have one dollar. - Squidward to SpongeBob

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