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Date: Wed, 07 Dec 2011 09:26:44 -0500
From: Jeff Mitchell <mitchell@....org>
To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com
CC: cve@...re.org
Subject: Disputing CVE-2011-4122

Hello,

I've been asked by the kcheckpass maintainer to lodge a dispute of
CVE-2011-4122.

As explained in the blog entry linked from the CVE[1], the problem is
that neither kcheckpass nor OpenPAM validate the 'service_name' input
argument of pam_start(). This hole can be used to make PAM load
arbitrary shared libraries, which can be used to execute arbitrary code
as root, as kcheckpass is setuid root.

One could assume that kcheckpass should do the validation. However, the
PAM documentation makes no mention of what a service name is supposed to
look like, and consequently it must be treated as opaque by the
application code. Therefore all validation must be expected to be done
by the library, and failure to do so must be seen as a bug in the
library exclusively.

As a result, it is correct to list kcheckpass as an affected
application, but not as the origin of the vulnerability. The linked
advisories from ISS and Secunia are clearer about that.

Thanks,
Jeff

[1]: http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2011-4122


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