Research and Development


In this post we look at at one of many security problems that pentesters and security auditors find in setUID programs. It’s fairly common for child processes to inherit any open file handles in the parent process (though there are ways to avoid this). In certain cases this can present a security flaw. This is what we’ll look at in the context of setUID programs on Linux. Continue reading

Consider the case of a setUID binary that runs as root and allows the caller to execute certain other scripts and binaries from a given restricted directory. The Portcullis Labs team recently spotted such a case and I was asked to take a look to determine exploitablity. What follows is a short analysis of what I found. Continue reading

As many of our regular readers will know, the Portcullis Labs team have a good deal of experience with reviewing the security of POSIX alike OS, and as a result, we’ve made some interesting discoveries in terms of how easy it can be to escalate ones privileges. As I discussed some time ago at CRESTCon, one particular avenue of attack that we like is the runtime linker itself. As part of our ongoing research, I’ve recently issued a request for comments for a patch that tackles a number of systemic weaknesses in the Linux (glibc) runtime linker that we often exploit. A few further points on the rationale… Continue reading

Some bugs are so simple and so elegant that you wonder how it is possible that no one has found them until now. Those are my favorites. They are simple, they do not involve memory corruption and most of the time they do not even need an advanced exploit code to abuse it. Stéphane Chazelas’ Bash bug is one of these bugs. Continue reading