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Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2021 07:31:05 -0700
From: Tavis Ormandy <>
Subject: xscreensaver package caps gets raw socket

Hello, I noticed that at least debian (maybe others) ship xscreensaver
hack with cap_net_raw enabled:

$ getcap /usr/libexec/xscreensaver/sonar
/usr/libexec/xscreensaver/sonar cap_net_raw=p

That seems like a bug, you can just load some driver and get a raw
socket. I wrote a quick exploit, this script will run tcpdump without
needing root.

$ bash
17:43:55.000000 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 64, id 14541, offset 0, flags [DF], proto ICMP (1), length 84)
    debian > ICMP echo request, id 59166, seq 1, length 64
17:43:55.000000 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 42276, offset 0, flags [none], proto ICMP (1), length 84) > debian: ICMP echo reply, id 59166, seq 1, length 64

I sent a report to debian, jwz and mesa. We concluded no embargo is
necessary, so continuing the discussion here.

Summary of discussion so far:

- In theory, mesa support running in a privileged context, their
  documentation says they disable dangerous features in setuid/setgid

  In fact, this is broken because they only check if (geteuid() !=
  getuid()) { ... }. That check doesn't even handle setgid, let alone file
  caps. If mesa agree this is a bug, simply changing their checks to if
  (getauxval(AT_SECURE)) { ... } might make this bug go away, and handle
  file caps and setgid for free. I filed a bug for that, but there
  hasn't been a response:

- The code could use ping sockets instead, but they're still rarely
  enabled by default, and users have to set the ping_group_range sysctl.
  I personally think it's time to enable them by default, but that's a
  different discussion :-)

- If neither of those two options work, then I guess we will have to
  try to make using mesa safe...but it sounds really hard. The obvious
  fix for right now is trying to clean up the environment, e.g.:

  (Note: untested)

    char *allowed[][2] = {
        { "DISPLAY", 0 },
        { "XAUTHORITY", 0 },
    for (int i = 0; allowed[i][0]; i++)  {
        if (getenv(allowed[i][0])) {
            allowed[i][1] = strdup(getenv(allowed[i][0]));
    if (clearenv() != 0) {
    for (int i = 0; allowed[i][0]; i++)  {
        if (allowed[i][1]) {
            setenv(allowed[i][0], allowed[i][1], 1);

    // ...

I *think* this will work in main(), but it's possible there are some
constructors somewhere that execute before main() I've missed. If that's
the case, then I guess we will need a wrapper binary that does execve()
and passes a non-cloexec fd with a sanitized environment?

The problem is that even if we make cleaning up the environment work,
you're always going to need $DISPLAY, and any code exec bug connecting
to a malicious X server will be a security bug.... and that sounds super
hard to get right?

I dunno, thoughts on fixing this appreciated...


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