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Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 06:21:32 -0500 (EST)
From: Jan Lieskovsky <>
To: Andreas Ericsson <>
Cc: Eitan Adler <>,
        "Steven M. Christey" <>,
        Nick Treleaven <>,
        Colomban Wendling <>,
        Enrico Troeger <>,
        Matthew Brush <>,
        Frank Lanitz <>,,
        jonathan underwood <>,
Subject: Re: Geany IDE not escaping filenames during
 compilation / build - a security issue or not?

Hi Andreas,

  I think it's unlikely to happen for one file.
But what for project with (hundred, thousand of) small files?

Is the user prior building expected to investigate file name of
each of them for sanity? This is where trust boundary is crossed -
someone could send you a tarball: "Here is the source you were
searching for." You would go to build it in Geany..

The difference when running it directly from the command line is
that Bash would escape those files for you, so even with crafted names
nothing bad / suspicious would happen (and project would build
if syntactically correct).

To the difference, in the Geany scenario, the file name(s) would
be passed to command line directly as they are (and if the project
would build or not at the end isn't what matters here).

Regards, Jan.
Jan iankko Lieskovsky / Red Hat Security Response Team

P.S.: Above based on my short playing with Geany. While original exploit
      mentions just one file case, looks the same is possible for projects
      (having multiple Makefiles).

----- Original Message -----
On 12/13/2012 06:54 AM, Eitan Adler wrote:
> On 12 December 2012 11:51, Jan Lieskovsky <> wrote:
>> The questions:
>> 1) should Geany escape the filenames?,
> Up to the maintainers.
>> 2) is this a security issue or not?
> Unlikely.  Is there a way a malicious document could cause code
> execution without user action?

Extremely unlikely. The way to get someone to trigger this is to send
a source-file to a developer who then opens it in geany without realizing
that the file is named "mail -s teehee < /etc/passwd".
The "attacked" developer then need to attempt to build it from geany's
internal "build now" button.

A simpler misdeed of similar charactaristics would be to ship a bogus
./configure script that people (who are not developers, mind you)
blindly run and which executes bogus commands on behalf of the logged
in user.

Since the latter isn't really CVE-worthy, I doubt the former even
comes close.

Andreas Ericsson         
OP5 AB                   
Tel: +46 8-230225                  Fax: +46 8-230231

Considering the successes of the wars on alcohol, poverty, drugs and
terror, I think we should give some serious thought to declaring war
on peace.

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