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Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:38:26 -0800
From: Dean Pierce <>
Subject: Re: What is the "Grinch" polkit/wheel group issue?

The key here is the line:

"In order to exploit this, all we need is a single vulnerability in
any package in a repo. There are tons to choose from. If we type
‘PKCon’ or simply ‘man PKCon,’ we can find a list of repos in use and
then pull a list of all bins and version numbers. I won’t provide one
here because you don’t want everything handed to you."

Had they actually found a package they could leverage to get root,
then this would absolutely be a vulnerability, but they didn't.  While
configuring pkcon to allow admins to install packages without typing
in a password *is* something that might be unexpected for people
unfamiliar with polkit, that is the exact type of use case it was
built for.

  - DEAN

On Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 10:24 AM, Kurt Seifried <> wrote:
> On 17/12/14 10:00 AM, Marcus Meissner wrote:
>> Hi,
>> This probably needs a CVE too, or does it have one?
>> Although it seems that the user is in the "wheel" group for this to be exploitable
>> and is hard to specify what actions should be safed by another query or which should not.
>> Ciao, Marcus
> Yeah I looked into this (the article/etc was completely confusing and
> took some time to parse):
> 1) the article states they contacted red hat, we were unable to find
> any inbound email or bugzilla entry pertaining to this issue, as always
> if you have an issue you wish to report please contact
> 2) this is expected behaviour, admin users can install software (do I
> have to say this? really? yes. I was told I should say this).
> 3) don't run web apps as admin users (do I have to say this? really?
> yes. I was told I should say this).
> 4) if you feel the need to run a web app as an admin user restrict what
> they can do via SELinux, and  don't let them install software (do I have
> to say this? really? yes. I was told I should say this).
> So TL;DR: it's not a security vulnerability, and it will NOT be getting
> a CVE.
> I can only assume this article/vuln is perhaps referring to something
> like Cpanel and other control panels that people sometimes install
> insecurely/improperly and then never update. Or something. Who knows.
> --
> Kurt Seifried -- Red Hat -- Product Security -- Cloud
> PGP A90B F995 7350 148F 66BF 7554 160D 4553 5E26 7993

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