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Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 08:33:48 +0100
From: Sebastian Krahmer <>
Subject: Re: Physical access vulnerabilities and auto-mounting


Unfortunally I think nobody would care. As nobody cared
that you actually do not need physical access. Via udisks DBUS
service you can load any LKM via

dbus-send --system --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.UDisks          \
                   /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sr0                  \
                   org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device.FilesystemMount        \
                   string:'LKM' array:string:''

I reported that several months ago to upstream but it was frozen to more
or less a non-issue. Indeed nobody agreed that this is an issue to fix.


On Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 11:17:54PM -0500, Dan Rosenberg wrote:
> I originally started writing this as a response to the recent CVE
> requests for issues in partition handling, but thought it might be a
> useful discussion on its own.  I was wondering if there are any
> clear-cut policies on issues involving physical access, since these
> can be very difficult in terms of assigning blame.
> For example, many Linux distributions will auto-mount filesystems on
> removable storage, often going so far as to load corresponding kernel
> modules for filesystems that aren't compiled in or don't already have
> an LKM loaded.  Sometimes, this will happen even if the screen is
> locked.
> Incidentally, many Linux filesystem implementations don't have
> especially robust error handling for failures during attempts to mount
> corrupt filesystems.  As an example, I have a deliberately corrupted
> btrfs filesystem that triggers a BUG() if you attempt to mount it.  I
> formatted a USB stick with this filesystem, so now I have a USB stick
> that will panic the kernels of distributions that support
> auto-mounting, in some cases even when the screen is locked.
> Should this be considered a vulnerability?  Probably.  But what should
> be fixed?  Should auto-mounting be disabled entirely?  Is it no longer
> a vulnerability if auto-mounting is disabled only when the screen is
> locked?  Should all filesystems have graceful error handling for every
> possible edge case that can occur when dealing with corruption?
> I'd be interested to hear opinions on this.  And depending on how the
> discussion goes, I'd be happy to provide more details on specific
> cases, such as the btrfs example.
> -Dan

~ perl
~ $_='print"\$_=\47$_\47;eval"';eval
~ - SuSE Security Team
~ SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, GF: Markus Rex, HRB 16746 (AG Nuernberg)

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