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Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 14:15:49 +0200
From: Sebastian Krahmer <>
Subject: Fwd: [vs-plain] polkit races

Hi list

As required by distros list policy, I forward this to oss-security.
The initial CRD was Sept 11th, but it was shifted to today as
there were so many packages to be fixed.


----- Forwarded message from Sebastian Krahmer <> -----

From: Sebastian Krahmer <>
Subject: [vs-plain] polkit races
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:17:37 +0200


The polkit unix-process subject for authorization is racy. It depended
on the (PID, startup_time) pair to be passed to polkit which then used /proc/PID/status
to find out the UID the process belongs to. Meanwhile the process could
have started a suid or pkexec process, changing the euid and/or uid at will.
The startup_time does not protect here, as its not changed across an execve().

Using /proc/PID/loginuid wont work either, as one could abuse fork-spawning
processes such as sshd, apache etc. to re-use recently freed process slots,
faking the loginuid. startup_time would theoretically help here, yet as
its not atomically passed along the message which is subject to polkit
authorization, the privileged process needs to learn it by looking up
/proc/PID/, which is racy again.

Therefore the only thing that could be used is the UID that is passed
atomically in the peer cred struct when receiving the message in question.

The whole thing needs fixing in polkit, to deprecate PID authorization
as well as several core packages to make use of the new API, or use
systembus authorization.

After discussing with upstream, Colin Walters made this private git of patches

Feel free to suggest improvements if necessary.

As required by list policy, I request a CRD of Sept 11th.

We also need CVE's assigned.

A PoC with example client/server which demonstrates the race
can be found here (it basically simulates libvirtd's way of



~ perl
~ $_='print"\$_=\47$_\47;eval"';eval
~ - SuSE Security Team

----- End forwarded message -----


~ perl
~ $_='print"\$_=\47$_\47;eval"';eval
~ - SuSE Security Team

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