Openwall Kernel Security Patch Update

    Date21 Oct 2001
    5520
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    The Openwall kernel security patch is a collection of security-related features for the Linux kernel, all configurable via the new 'Security options' configuration section. In addition to the new features, some versions of the patch contain various security fixes. A new revision of the Openwall Linux kernel patch, 2.2.19-ow3, is now available.. . . The Openwall kernel security patch is a collection of security-related features for the Linux kernel, all configurable via the new 'Security options' configuration section. In addition to the new features, some versions of the patch contain various security fixes. A new revision of the Openwall Linux kernel patch, 2.2.19-ow3, is now available.

    It contains fixes for two Linux kernel vulnerabilities discovered by Rafal Wojtczuk and is strongly recommended for use with Owl. One of the vulnerabilities affected SUID/SGID execution by processes being traced with ptrace(2). It was possible to trick the kernel into recognizing an unsuspecting SUID root program as the (privileged) tracer process. Then, if that program would execute a program supplied by the malicious user (with the user's credentials), the user's program would inherit the ability to trace. Fortunately, there's no program that would meet all of the requirements for this attack in the default Owl install. However, certain supported non-default configurations of Owl are affected. In particular, if newgrp(1) is made available to untrusted users (which is a supported owl-control setting) or certain third-party software which contains SUID root binaries is installed, the vulnerability may become exploitable and result in a local root compromise. The other vulnerability allowed for an effective local DoS attack by causing the kernel to spend an almost arbitrary amount of time on dereferencing a single symlink, without giving a chance for processes to run.

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