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Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 19:40:31 -0700
From: Isaac Dunham <>
To: Brent Cook <>
	Brent Cook <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] implement issetugid(2)

On Sat, Jul 12, 2014 at 05:54:51PM -0600, Brent Cook wrote:
> From: Brent Cook <>
> From OpenBSD 2.0 and later, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OS X and Solaris
> The fix is to implement the BSD issetugid(2) interface so that a
> portable library can use its presence to determine if the underlying C
> library has a reliable way of determining the value of AT_SECURE, and by
> extension if the library is running with elevated privileges. If the
> call fails, it assumes secure mode rather than falling back to an
> insecure result.

My previous response to your last email didn't get sent to you, for which
I apologize. But to summarize:
-auxval is initialized at ELF load time, so a setuid/setgid binary will
always show up if privileges were gained.
-AT_SECURE was added before filesystem capabilities (prior to kernel 2.6.0,
I believe), so any system where checking AT_SECURE fails and auxval is properly
initialized cannot obtain privileges except by setuid/setgid*
-If auxval is not properly initialized (I'm not aware of any such cases),
it cannot be detected if getauxval() is broken, but looking up AT_E?[UG]ID
will also fail.

In other words, for the fallback used to set to "fail open",
you would have to have a 2.4 kernel, the 2.6.x filesystem code 
(including filesystem capabilities), AND no backport of AT_SECURE.

[*] Unless we start talking about rootkits; I suspect detecting rootkits
to avoid privilege escalation attacks on the rootkit via environmental
variables doesn't make that much sense. ;)

See below for further comments.

> ---
>  include/unistd.h       |  3 +++
>  src/unistd/issetugid.c | 10 ++++++++++
>  2 files changed, 13 insertions(+)
>  create mode 100644 src/unistd/issetugid.c
> diff --git a/include/unistd.h b/include/unistd.h
> index bb19cd8..3990c1e 100644
> --- a/include/unistd.h
> +++ b/include/unistd.h
> @@ -109,6 +109,9 @@ uid_t geteuid(void);
>  gid_t getgid(void);
>  gid_t getegid(void);
>  int getgroups(int, gid_t []);
> +#if defined(_BSD_SOURCE)
> +int issetugid(void);
> +#endif
>  int setuid(uid_t);
>  int setreuid(uid_t, uid_t);
>  int seteuid(uid_t);

As a point of style, #ifdef sections stand in separate blocks, after all the
non-ifdef stuff.

> diff --git a/src/unistd/issetugid.c b/src/unistd/issetugid.c
> new file mode 100644
> index 0000000..f538626
> --- /dev/null
> +++ b/src/unistd/issetugid.c
> @@ -0,0 +1,10 @@
> +#include <sys/auxv.h>
> +#include "libc.h"
> +
> +int issetugid(void)
> +{
> +	size_t *auxv = libc.auxv;
> +	for (; *auxv; auxv+=2)
> +		if (*auxv==AT_SECURE) return auxv[1] != 0;
> +	return 1;
> +}

This can be "return;" unless you're concerned about the possibility
that someone backported filesystem capabilities to a 2.4.x kernel without
bothering to add AT_SECURE to auxval.

Thanks and hope this helps,
Isaac Dunham

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