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Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 09:47:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: Josh Bressers <>
Cc:, coley <>
Subject: Re: gksu-polkit

I assigned this CVE-2011-0703 when you sent it to vendor-sec.



----- Original Message -----
> Hi,
> I already sent this to vendor-sec a while ago (cant remember
> whether this already received a CVE and which) as well as to
> the maintainer (Cc) which did not yield a response.
> So I send it here again. Merging X cookies is probably not
> a good idea by itself for sudo like programs but this problem
> adds more.
> Sebastian
> -------------------------->8----------------------
> While reviewing possible replacements for libgnomesu, I found that
> the gksu-polkit contains a weird vulnerability that allows
> to escalate privileges.
> Basically the gksu-server is a DBUS activation that runs as root.
> Users invoke the Spawn method via DBUS and gksu-server components
> check via polkit whether the user is allowed to run the program.
> Despite the "nice" architecture involving dozens of glib, dbus etc.
> libs for such a simple purpose as well as running Vala generated
> source code
> as root, it has an inlining problem.
> gksu-server tries to merge the X11 cookie credentials via xauth
> commands.
> It creates a script file (as root) which it passes to xauth like so:
> gboolean gksu_controller_prepare_xauth()
> {
> [...]
> xauth_display = g_hash_table_lookup(environment, "DISPLAY");
> [...]
> xauth_cmd = g_strdup_printf("add %s . %s\n", xauth_display,
> xauth_token);
> fwrite(xauth_cmd, sizeof(gchar), strlen(xauth_cmd), file);
> [...]
> command = g_strdup_printf("%s -q -f %s source %s", xauth_bin,
> xauth_file, tmpfilename);
> g_spawn_command_line_sync(command, NULL, NULL, &return_code, &error);
> [...]
> }
> while the creation of the tmp file looks safe, the DISPLAY variable
> might
> be passed by the user to the Spawn DBUS method. It may contain
> newlines,
> spaces etc. since the default common.variables file allows to pass
> unrestricted data via DISPLAY to it.
> Therefore the source file for xauth may contain arbitrary commands,
> e.g. extracting user owned X11 cookies to root's .Xauthority
> or to /etc/passwd. He may then overtake a administrator X11 session
> since his cookies have been placed to /root/ or "carefully chooses"
> a token that matches a /etc/passwd entry.
> Same maybe applies to xauth_token which might contain newlines etc.
> The default config must contain regex that forbid such characters or
> the token handling inside gksu-server has to be done differently.
> --
> ~
> ~ perl
> ~ $_='print"\$_=\47$_\47;eval"';eval
> ~ - SuSE Security Team
> ~ SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, GF: Markus Rex, HRB 16746 (AG Nuernberg)

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