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Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2022 12:38:17 +0200
From: Filippo Bonazzi <>
Subject: gromox: potential local privilege escalation (CVE-2022-37030)

Hello list,

the following report describes a local privilege escalation vulnerability in
Gromox[0] versions 0.5 to 1.27. Any code references in this report are based on
version 1.27 in the upstream Git repository[1], and packaging references are
based on the 1.27 RPM distributed by upstream[2].

# Introduction

Gromox is the central groupware server component of grommunio[3]. It is capable
of serving as a replacement for Microsoft Exchange and compatibles.

Among its many features, Gromox provides a PAM module to authenticate non-Gromox
processes to an authentication backend such as MySQL or LDAP. The PAM module
allows runtime loading of plugins, and its configuration lives in
`/etc/gromox/pam` or `/etc/gromox`.

The interaction between this PAM module, its runtime loading of plugins and
their configuration causes the vulnerability described in this report.

# The Vulnerability

The RPM spec file packages the `/etc/gromox` directory with ownership
`root:gromox` and mode 775, i.e. the directory is writeable by the unprivileged
`gromox` group.

The directory contains, among others, the configuration file for the PAM module.
When the authentication hook of the PAM module is invoked, the module loads the
`/etc/gromox/pam.cfg` configuration file, which can contain a path and a list of
filenames to be used to load plugins. The plugins are regular .so shared objects,
which are then executed by the PAM module.

It is therefore possible for the `gromox` group to effectively have the PAM
stack run arbitrary code upon execution of the `` module.

Assuming that the PAM stack is run as root, as it is likely, this results in the
unprivileged `gromox` group being able to execute arbitrary code as root.

# Proof of Concept Exploit

Attached is a proof of concept setup that has been tested on current openSUSE
The only precondition for the exploit is that gromox is installed and a target
user is in the `gromox` group.

# Upstream Fix

Upstream released version 1.28 of Gromox[4] which removes configuration
directives for runtime loading of plugins. Plugins are now loaded from a fixed
list, and from root-controlled paths only. This removes the possibility for an
unprivileged user to control what will be executed by the Gromox PAM module.

# Timeline

2022-07-25: I contacted upstream with the vulnerability report and offered
             coordinated disclosure.
	    Upstream released version 1.28 on the same day, fixing the issue,
	    and did not request any embargo.
2022-07-26: I reviewed the new version and verified that the issue has been
2022-08-01: I obtained CVE-2022-37030 from Mitre to track this issue.

# References


Filippo Bonazzi
Security Engineer              
8257 4398 947A 2DBE F21D 76E6 937A 63F0 5B36 46D9

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