[Fwd: RAZOR advisory: Linux 2.2.xx /proc/<pid>/mem mmap() vulnerability]

ME dugan at passwall.com
Tue Dec 17 14:52:58 PST 2002

This just posted to a security mailing list. For those sysadmins on
multi-user systems, or sysadmins who permit shell access, or permit remote
users to code cgi/apps remotely, you may want to examine upgrading to
Linux kernel v 2.4.


Version: 3.12
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t at -(  ) 5 @ X@ R- tv- b   DI    D  G--@ e >  >     h(  )>  r*>? z?
decode: http://www.ebb.org/ungeek/ about: http://www.geekcode.com/geek.html
  Campus IT(/OS Security): Operating Systems Support Specialist Assistant

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RAZOR advisory: Linux 2.2.xx /proc/<pid>/mem mmap() vulnerability
From: Michal Zalewski <lcamtuf at ghettot.org>
Date: Tue, December 17, 2002 1:02 pm
To: bugtraq at securityfocus.com, <vulnwatch at vulnwatch.org>,
         <full-disclosure at netsys.com>

RAZOR advisory: Linux kernel 2.2.x /proc/pid/mem mmap() vulnerability

   Issue Date : 12/17/2002
   Contact    : Michal Zalewski <mzalewsk at razor.bindview.com>
   CVE number : CAN-2002-1380


   A locally exploitable system crash vulnerability is present in the
Linux kernel, versions 2.2.x. The system is likely to hang and
   require a manual reboot.

Affected Systems:

   All Linux systems running 2.2.x kernels. The functionality required
to exploit this vulnerability is not present in the 2.4.x line as of
today, and those systems are not immediately vulnerable.


   The /proc/pid/mem interface is designed to enable one application to,
under certain conditions, access the memory of another application in
a convenient way. This feature is very useful for developers or
administrators who wish to debug or analyze programs running on their
system. One of ways to access the memory is by directly mapping pages
using mmap().

   A vulnerability is present in the way this process is validated. It
is possible for the user to use mmap() interface to request access to
memory pages that are non-readable to the traced process itself. The
user can pass PROT_READ parameter to this call to request read access
to this mapping. Because of insufficient validation, he will be
granted a map marked as readable. From now on, the user can request
his instance to be read by the kernel. Doing so will result in
crashing the system.

   The problem does not affect 2.4 kernels because, as of today, mmap()
on /proc/pid/mem is not supported; mmap() interface is no longer
available on 2.4 because of implementation reliability concerns.

Proof of concept code:

   #define PAGES 10

   #include <asm/page.h>
   #include <sys/mman.h>
   #include <unistd.h>
   #include <stdio.h>
   #include <fcntl.h>
   #include <sys/ptrace.h>

   int main() {
     int ad1,ad2,zer,mem,pid,i;
     if (!fork()) {
       char p[64];
     return 0;

Mitigating factors:

   In order to successfully exploit the vulnerability, the attacker
would need to have the right to execute code of his choice on the
local machine.

   Restricting ptrace() or /proc access can help mitigate the risk.
Several security-enhancing patches such as Openwall or grsecurity
offer solutions to implement such restrictions.

Workaround / fix:

   There is no immediate fix available. Kernel developers suggest to
disable mmap() functionality on /proc/pid/mem to address the issue.
The following patch can be used:

--- linux-2.2/fs/proc/mem.c.old		Sun Mar 25 08:30:58 2001
+++ linux-2.2/fs/proc/mem.c		Tue Dec 10 14:29:05 2002
@@ -323,7 +323,7 @@
        NULL,           /* mem_readdir */
        NULL,           /* mem_poll */
        NULL,           /* mem_ioctl */
-       mem_mmap,       /* mmap */
+       NULL,           /* mmap */
        NULL,           /* no special open code */
        NULL,           /* flush */
        NULL,           /* no special release code */

   Administrators who prefer to patch their systems without the need to
recompile and reboot, and do not rely on having ptrace() interface
available to all users, can deploy a loadable module that disables
ptrace() for non-privileged accounts instead. One of such modules can
be obtained at http://www.securiteam.com/tools/5SP082K5GK.html .

   Please note that this third-party kernel module is not authored nor
endorsed by RAZOR, and that compilation and installation of kernel
modules should be performed by experienced users only.

Vendor Response:

   Because of implementation reliability issues, Linux developers
decided to drop /proc/pid/mem mmap() functionality in 2.2 kernels.
There will be no fix for the issue that preserves the functionality.

   Upcoming 2.2.24 release will address this and other bugs in 2.2

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