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Date: Fri, 15 Jan 2021 21:14:03 +0500
From: "Alexander E. Patrakov" <>
To: Clement Lefebvre <>,
Subject: Re: [vs] Cinnamon lock screen bypass in multiple distributions

As this is already public, no need to hold it on the distros list.

пт, 15 янв. 2021 г. в 21:05, Clement Lefebvre <>:

> Hi Alexander,
> Many thanks for contacting us. I think it's fixed on our side, but the way
> to reproduce it is slightly different. We use the virtual keyboard and long
> press E, then press E with the bar on top.
> You can find the issue and resolution at
> It's a regression (or improvement depending on the way to look at it) in
> Xorg. You correctly identified this. It affects libcaribou.
> We sent them an MR but I don't think they care... their project looks
> dead:
> We urged the Arch and Debian maintainers of Cinnamon to take action on
> github already but no CVE was done. Like you, we don't really know if this
> should be against Xorg or libcaribou.
> We patched caribou in all Mint releases that were affected (Mint 19.x,
> Mint 20.x and LMDE 4).
> Mint 18.x is also affected but the versions of Cinnamon over there are
> lesser than 4.2, so they don't have an on-screen keyboard in their
> screensaver.
> Regards,
> Clement Lefebvre
> Linux Mint
> On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 3:28 PM Alexander E. Patrakov <>
> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I found a trivial way to bypass the screen lock in the Cinnamon DE.
>> However, I don't know how to contact Cinnamon or Linux Mint people
>> properly, that's why I am posting here. Also, I am not sure whether
>> this is a Cinnamon bug or Xorg bug.
>> For the exploit to work, more than one keyboard layout needs to be
>> configured in Cinnamon keyboard settings, on the "layouts" tab. In the
>> demo VMs linked below, that's English and Russian. Instructions:
>> 1. Boot the system. Or, boot a demo VM using the provided ./
>> script.
>> 2. Log in. In the demo VMs, the username is "user" and the password is
>> "password".
>> 3. Lock the screen, using the "Lock Screen" icon in the main menu.
>> 4.  Click the following using your mouse. On real hardware, a
>> touchscreen also works, so watch out for cats doing this by accident
>> ;) Important: do not use a hardware keyboard.
>>  * The virtual keyboard button at the bottom. The virtual keyboard
>> should appear.
>>  * The country flag or two-letter code on the left of the password
>> field. It should switch to RU, Russian.
>>  * The "q" virtual key, maybe more than once (what apparently matters
>> is that the character is not in the layout indicated in the password
>> field).
>> You may need to wait a few seconds for cinnamon-screensaver to actually
>> crash.
>> Distributions affected:
>> Linux Mint 20.1 with Cinnamon DE:
>> cinnamon-screensaver
>> <>
>> 4.8.1+ulyssa, xserver-xorg-core 2:1.20.8-2ubuntu2.6
>> Note: if one updates the xserver-xorg-core package using apt (to
>> 2:1.20.9-2ubuntu1.1~20.04.1) and reboots the VM, the bug is no longer
>> reproducible, so it may be a Xorg problem, not Cinnamon DE problem,
>> after all. The changelog entry for 2:1.20.8-2ubuntu6 does ring a bell,
>> it's for CVE-2020-14345 "Correct bounds checking in XkbSetNames()",
>> . However, the _XkbCheckRequestBounds() function added by this patch
>> also exists in the xorg-server version used by Arch Linux, so this
>> can't be it.
>> Debian Testing:
>> This distribution has 4.8.1-2, the only patch is for the path to PNG
>> versions of country flags. xserver-xorg-core is at 2:1.20.10-2, the
>> only patch is for a MIPS-specific build issue, obviously irrelevant
>> here. Dist-upgrading to Debian Unstable and rebooting does not fix the
>> bug.
>> Arch Linux:
>> This distribution also has the latest released cinnamon-screensaver,
>> 4.8.1-1. xorg-server version is 1.20.10-3, the only patches applied
>> are for the build system, not for C code.
>> Note: for the purpose of not destroying the evidence, the VMs above
>> use "snapshot=on", so all changes will be lost on shutdown. Rebooting
>> is OK.
>> Distributions not affected:
>> Fedora 33 (automatically switches the layout to US)
>> cinnamon-screensaver 4.6.0-2.fc33
>> xorg-x11-server-common-1.20.10-1.fc33 in updates
>> Fedora 34 pre-release (Rawhide, also automatically switches the layout to
>> US)
>> cinnamon-screensaver 4.8.1-1.fc34
>> xorg-x11-server-common 1.20.10-1.fc34
>> Debian 10 (cinnamon-screensaver 3.8.2-1 does not have a virtual keyboard)
>> I have not tested anything else. The above data points do not let me
>> conclude which package is responsible, so I cannot file a CVE at this
>> point.
>> --
>> Alexander E. Patrakov
>> CV:

Alexander E. Patrakov

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