Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Sat, 26 Sep 2015 19:01:59 -0400
From: Daniel Micay <>
Subject: Re: s/party/hack like it's 1999

On 26/09/15 06:26 PM, David Holland wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 09:02:27PM +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
>  > >> I have been arguing for years (but without success) that vt bomb
>  > >> injection needs to be blocked in the tty driver. This problem
>  > >> (corruption of concurrent UTF-8 streams) needs to be too, as a matter
>  > >> of correctness and not even security.
>  > >
>  > > How exactly would a tty driver "block" anything like this?
>  > 
>  > Avoiding in-band signaling in the first place. :-/
> Yes, that.
>  > > A tty driver never looks at the data stream in the kernel, as that
>  > > way lies madness...
>  > 
>  > Surely there is a way to prevent two writes from interleaving?  For
>  > writes to files in O_APPEND mode, this already happens, doesn't it?
> Theoretically each write() call is supposed to be atomic; there are
> presumably some limits to that in practice, especially on ptys (like
> PIPE_BUF is the limit for pipes) but this doesn't help if programs
> emit partial characters, as is (in general) likely. Programs that use
> stdio to write to stdout are ok because stdio line-buffers stdout when
> it's a tty; but that doesn't help with stderr, or with programs that
> ship text around in arbitrary-sized blocks, or programs in cbreak
> mode, or if you're logged in across a network that hiccups
> occasionally. (Or can be made to hiccup on purpose.)
> ISTM that for safety the tty driver is going to have to know about
> multibyte encodings and not let through partial characters; this is an
> enormous can of worms.
> (but, let's not overreact; it's always been possible to blat out
> sequences beginning with [ and hope that they'll be inserted right
> after someone else's ESC.)

AFAICT, POSIX only has atomicity requirements for a FIFO or pipe and I
don't think Linux or other OSes offer much more in practice. Some file
systems have unofficial guarantees related to the block size...

Am I missing something? Of course, Linux might offer the guarantee in
practice for a tty, but terminals are generally portable.

Download attachment "signature.asc" of type "application/pgp-signature" (820 bytes)

Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Please check out the Open Source Software Security Wiki, which is counterpart to this mailing list.

Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.