Home page logo

bugtraq logo Bugtraq mailing list archives

linux kmod/ptrace bug - details
From: Andrzej Szombierski <qq () kuku eu org>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2003 20:22:45 +0100 (CET)


There are many discussions (on slashdot for example) on the recent linux 
ptrace (& kmod) bug. I'll try to clarify what is this all about.

It's a local root vulnerability. It's exploitable only if:
1. the kernel is built with modules and kernel module loader enabled
2. /proc/sys/kernel/modprobe contains the path to some valid executable
3. ptrace() calls are not blocked

These conditions are met on most standard linux distros.

Ok now how it works:
When a process requests a feature which is in a module, the kernel spawns
a child process, sets its euid and egid to 0 and calls execve("/sbin/modprobe")
The problem is that before the euid change the child process can be 
attached to with ptrace(). Game over, the user can insert any code into a 
process which will be run with the superuser privileges.

- patch the kernel
- disable kmod/modules
- install a ptrace-blocking module
- set /proc/sys/kernel/modprobe to /any/bogus/file

A word about 2.5. kernels - these are not vulnerable because the kernel 
thread spawning code has been rewritten so that the modprobe process is 
spawned from keventd, it never runs with non-root uid, so it can't be 
ptraced by any non-root user.

Sample exploit here (ix86-only):

: Andrzej Szombierski : anszom () v-lo krakow pl : qq () kuku eu org :
: anszom () bezkitu com ::: radio bez kitu <=> http://bezkitu.com :

  By Date           By Thread  

Current thread:
  • linux kmod/ptrace bug - details Andrzej Szombierski (Mar 19)
[ Nmap | Sec Tools | Mailing Lists | Site News | About/Contact | Advertising | Privacy ]