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Mathematica on Linux /tmp/MathLink vulnerability
From: paul.szabo () sydney edu au
Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 11:56:10 +1000
"If you're doing anything technical, think Mathematica ..."
http://www.wolfram.com/products/mathematica/index.html
Mathematica7 on Linux uses the /tmp/MathLink directory in insecure ways.
Mathematica creates or reuses an existing /tmp/MathLink directory, and
overwrites files within and follows symlinks. This type of behaviour is
"known unsafe" on multiuser machines e.g. University login servers.
As a classic example of a symlink attack, if an "attacker" uses:
mkdir /tmp/MathLink; ln s /home/victim/.bashrc /tmp/MathLink/.gshmm
then when the victim runs Mathematica his ~/.bashrc will be clobbered.
New files are created worldwritable, allowing a complete compromise of
the user account by linking to ~/.bash_logout . (If root ever uses
Mathematica then the damage is greater.)
Mathematica uses also /tmp/fonts$$.conf in insecure ways.
Workaround: use commandline math instead of pretty interface.
Notified support () wolfram com on 7 May 2010, was assigned [TS 16194].
Cheers,
Paul Szabo psz () maths usyd edu au http://www.maths.usyd.edu.au/u/psz/
School of Mathematics and Statistics University of Sydney Australia
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 Mathematica on Linux /tmp/MathLink vulnerability paul . szabo (May 14)
