March 26, 2017

NVIDIA fixes root privilege escalation in its Linux drivers

( — Over a month ago an anonymous coder sent a small C program to Dave Airlie, who maintains the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel, that allows an attacker to gain root access to a Linux machine by exploiting a vulnerability in NVIDIA’s Linux drivers.

The exploit works by using a vulnerability in the /dev/nvidiao device which allows the VGA window to be moved around until it can read and write to somewhere useful in physical RAM. Then the exploit performs a root privilege escalation by writing directly to kernel memory.

Over a month passed since information about the vulnerability was submitted to NVIDIA and the graphics company has not responded. As a result Airlie has made the exploit public.

“I was given this anonymously, it has been sent to nvidia over a month ago with no reply or advisory and the original author wishes to remain anonymous but would like to have the exploit published at this time, so I said I’d post it for them,” wrote Dave Airlie in a post to a security mailing list.

NVIDIA has now released version 304.32 of its drivers for Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris. The updated driver contains a hotfix to block access to the registers involved in this attack. At the same time NVIDIA has also blocked access to some other registers which it identified as being susceptible to a similar type of attack.

The 295.71 driver is available for download at the NVIDIA FTP site:

32-bit Linux:
64-bit Linux:


32-bit FreeBSD:
64-bit FreeBSD:

The 304.32 driver is also available for download at the NVIDIA FTP site:

32-bit Linux:
64-bit Linux:


32-bit FreeBSD:
64-bit FreeBSD:

Details about the updated driver and the patches are available at:

System privilege escalation vulnerability found in XEN on 64-bit Intel hardware

(LiveHacking.Com) – Rafal Wojtczuk of Bromium, Inc. has found a new vulnerability that could possibility be exploited for local privilege escalation. The bug in several different operating systems and Hypevisors, like the XEN virtualization software, affects systems using 64-bit Intel CPU hardware. To exploit the vulnerability an attacker needs to create a special stack frame which will be executed by the kernel of the host operating system after a general protection fault. The problem is that the general protection fault will be handled before the stack switch, which means the exception handler will be run in the kernel of the host operating system using the specially created stack frame, in short – a privilege escalation.

The error only exhibts itself on Intel 64-bit CPUs. AMD CPUs are not affected. Also the vulnerability seems to exist only in the XEN hypervisor (or its variants). VMware is not vulnerable. According to Xen Security Advisory 7, the result of a successful exploitation is that administrators of guest OSes can gain control of the host OS.

Modern operating systems implement a rings model of security, where privileged operations are performed in RING 0 (the kernel). Most applications run in RING 3 and request access to RING 0 by making system calls. The calls put the CPU into the required privilege level and passes control to the kernel. By using the combination of a special stack frame and a general protection fault the attackers force the system to run their code in RING 0 rather than RING 3.

Microsoft released a patch for Windows a few days ago as part of June’s Patch Tuesday. According to Microsoft the fix changes the way that the Windows User Mode Scheduler handles a particular system request and the way that Windows manages BIOS ROM.

Vendor specific information on this vulnerability have been published by XenFreeBSD and Microsoft. Linux vendor Red Hat has also published two security advisories: RHSA-2012:0720-1 and RHSA-2012:0721-1.

On some operating systems, like FreeBSD, running the 32-bit variant of the OS on a 64 bit capable CPUs means the operating systems is not vulnerable.

Linux 2.6.39 Memory Handling Vulnerability

(LiveHacking.Com) – Exploits have started appearing that make it possible to gain root privileges on some versions of the Linux kernel due to a flaw in the  /proc/<pid>/mem handling. The vulnerability first came to light when Linus Torvalds released a Linux kernel update last week to fix the flaw and the subsequent analysis of the bug at  Nerdling Sapple.

The bug, which was discovered by Jüri Aedla, allows a local, unprivileged user to escalate their privileges. The problem is that write support to /proc/<pid>/mem was re-enabled in the kernel but with insufficient permissions checking. This means that all Linux kernels >=2.6.39 are vulnerable, up until the fix noted above.

Red Hat have released a small C program which will test a kernel to see if it is vulnerable. If you are not sure if you are running an affected kernel version compile and run the test from

$ gcc -o test test.c
$ ./test

You can read Red Hat’s full security advisory here. Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu Linux, have also announced the release an update for Ubuntu 11.10. The fix can be applied using a standard system update followed by a reboot.

New Kernels for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Fix Security Vulnerabilities

(LiveHacking.Com) – Unlike many Linux distributions, which are superseded almost daily, stable distributions from RedHat, CentOS and the Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) variants offer stability and a longer supported lifetime.

Ubuntu has just issued two new kernels for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. The 10.04 release, which is available for both the server and the desktop, was released in April 2010 and will be supported until April 2013 (for the desktop) and until April 2015 for the server version.

The first new kernel is 2.6.32-35 a release of the default 2.6.32  kernel that used when Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was first released. The kernel has a number of security related fixes including:

  • The kernel incorrectly handled certain VLAN packets. On some systems, a remote attacker could send specially crafted traffic to crash the system, leading to a denial of service. (CVE-2011-1576)
  • Ecryptfs did not correctly check the origin of mount points. A local attacker could exploit this to trick the system into unmounting arbitrary mount points, leading to a denial of service. (CVE-2011-1833)
  • Taskstats did not enforce access restrictions. A local attacker could exploit this to read certain information, leading to a loss of privacy. (CVE-2011-2494)
  • /proc/PID/io did not enforce access restrictions. A local attacker could exploit this to read certain information, leading to a loss of privacy. (CVE-2011-2495)
  • The Bluetooth stack incorrectly handled certain L2CAP requests. If a system was using Bluetooth, a remote attacker could send specially crafted traffic to crash the system or gain root privileges. (CVE-2011-2497)
  • The EXT4 filesystem contained multiple off-by-one flaws. A local attacker could exploit this to crash the system, leading to a denial of service. (CVE-2011-2695)
  • The IPv6 stack used predictable fragment identification numbers. A remote attacker could exploit this to exhaust network resources, leading to a denial of service. (CVE-2011-2699)
  • The perf command looks for configuration files in the current directory. If a privileged user were tricked into running perf in a directory containing a malicious configuration file, an
  • attacker could run arbitrary commands and possibly gain privileges. (CVE-2011-2905)
  • Long symlinks were incorrectly handled on Be filesystems. A local attacker could exploit this with a malformed Be filesystem and crash the system, leading to a denial of service. (CVE-2011-2928)
  • The kernel incorrectly handled random sequence number generation. An attacker could use this flaw to possibly predict sequence numbers and inject packets. (CVE-2011-3188)
  • The CIFS client incorrectly handled certain large values. A remote attacker with a malicious server could exploit this to crash the system or possibly execute arbitrary code as the root user. (CVE-2011-3191)
The other new kernel, 2.6.38-12, is backport of kernel 2.6.38 from Ubuntu 11.04 to the standard repository. This kernel also contains a number of security updates.

Exploit OOPS: Root Privileges on Linux

Security researcher Dan Rosenberg presents a small demo program which combines several security holes to obtaiLive Hacking Linux CDn root privileges on Linux systems on Full Disclosure Security mailing list.

He combined some existing vulnerabilities with the vulnerability discovered by Nelson Elhage in connection with the kernel’s thread management and troubleshooting routines (CVE-2010-4258).With this exploit, an attacker can potentially exploit an OOPS to write a null byte into the kernel’s memory area. [Read more…]

Red Hat: Vulnerability in OpenSSL

Red Hat released update packages for openssl that fix one security issue for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.The Red Hat Security Response Team has rated this update as having important security impact.

OpenSSL is a toolkit that implements the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL v2/v3) and Transport Layer Security (TLS v1) protocols, as well as a full-strength, general purpose cryptography library.

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With reference to Red Hat support forum, A race condition flaw has been found in the OpenSSL TLS server extension parsing code, which could affect some multithreaded OpenSSL applications. Under certain specific conditions, it may be possible for a remote attacker to trigger this race condition and cause such an application to crash, or possibly execute arbitrary code with the permissions of the application. (CVE-2010-3864)

Note, this issue does not affect the Apache HTTP Server. Refer to Red Hat Bugzilla bug 649304 for more technical details on how to determine if your application is affected.

This update is recommended to all OpenSSL users. For the update to take effect, all services linked to the OpenSSL library must be restarted, or the system rebooted.

This update is available via the Red Hat Network. Details on how to use the Red Hat Network to apply this update are available at

Mr. Rob Hulswit has reported this bug to Red Hat.

Hole in Linux kernel provides root rights – Update

A vulnerability in the 32-bit compatibility mode of the current Linux kernel (and previous versions) for 64-bit systems can be exploited to escalate privileges. For instance, attackers can break into a system and exploit a hole in the web server to get complete root (also known as superuser) rights or permissions for a victim’s system.

Read the full article here.