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Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:41:28 -0500
From: Eric Sandeen <>
To: "Theodore Ts'o" <>, Andreas Dilger <>
Cc: Yves-Alexis Perez <>,,
        Theodore Tso <>,
Subject: Re: CVE Request - Linux kernel (multiple versions)
 ext2/ext3 filesystem DoS

On 3/30/16 3:43 PM, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 04:56:11PM -0600, Andreas Dilger wrote:
>> On Mar 29, 2016, at 3:14 PM, Yves-Alexis Perez <> wrote:
>>> [dropping MITRE from CC since it's not about the CVE]
>>> [adding ext and Theodore to CC]
>>> On mar., 2016-03-29 at 19:24 +0200, Hugues ANGUELKOV wrote:
>>>> Hello,
>>>> The linux kernel is prone to a Denial of service when mounting specially
>>>> crafted ext2/ext3 (possibly ext4) filesystems. This occurs in the function
>>>> ext4_handle_error who call the panic function on precise circumstance.
>>> Did you contact the upstream maintainers about this? I'm adding them just in
>>> case they're not already aware of that…
>>>> This was tested on severals linux kernel version: 3.10, 3.18, 3.19, on
>>>> real hardware and Xen DomU PV & HVM (the crash report attached is from a
>>>> Fedora 3.18 PV DomU), from different distribution release: Ubuntu, CentOS,
>>>> Fedora, Linux Mint, QubesOS.
>>>> This a low security impact bug, because generally only root can mount
>>>> image, however on Desktop (or possibly server?) system configured with
>>>> automount the bug is easily triggable (think of android smartphone? Haven't
>>>> test yet).
>> It seems that the important point here is that the filesystem has
>> "s_errors=EXT4_ERRORS_PANIC" set in the superblock?  I don't think
>> the actual corruption that triggered the ext4_error() call is important,
>> since there are any number of other failure cases that could generate
>> a similar error.
>> It seems practical to change s_errors at mount time from EXT4_ERRORS_PANIC
>> to EXT4_ERRORS_RO for filesystems mounted by regular users.  The question
>> is whether there is a way for the ext4 code to know this at mount time?
> You can mount the file system with "mount -o errors=continue" and this
> will override the default behavior specified in the super block.
> I would argue that a Desktop or server system that had automount
> should either (a) mount with -o errors=continue, or (b) force an fsck
> on the file system before mounting it.
> So I think this is a particularly meaningless CVE, which is why I have
> zero respect for people who try to make any kind of conclusion based
> on CVE counts.   I certainly don't plan to do anything about this.
> You might as well complain that since the system ships with a reboot
> command that can be executed by a clueless root user, that this is a
> potential DOS attack scenario deserving of a CVE....

First of all, yes, I have always been extremely skeptical of these
"crafted image" CVEs.  However, I'm not sure the "store errors=panic
in the superblock" was particularly well thought out either; it certainly
does make for a tidy little timebomb.

While I really hate to give issues such as this a whole lot more
credibility, I wonder about a higher level control, such as a sysctl,
which could [dis]allow errors=panic at a system-wide level.  It could default
to disallowing, and it's trivial to set it in sysctl.conf if you really
want it enabled by default.

In the end, errors=panic is really a debug option; a small hoop-jump to
use it doesn't sound too bad to me.


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