QNX Software Systems Ltd.'s Neutrino RTOS (QNX) is a real-time operating
system designed for use in embedded systems. More information is
fontsleuth is a setuid root binary included by default in version 6.3.0
QNX Neutrino RTOS (QNX). It is a utility that tells the Photon font
manager where to look for fonts.
Local exploitation of a format string vulnerability in QNX Neutrino
RTOS's (QNX) fontsleuth command allows attackers to gain root
The problem specifically exists in the handling of a string passed as
the zeroth argument to the set user id (setuid) binary fontsleuth. The
string is ultimately passed to a formatted print function where a format
specifier is not supplied. This allows the attacker to use such
dangerous format specifiers as %n and %hn to write to arbitrary areas in
memory. Using this method, it is possible to overwrite the stored return
address or several function pointers, allowing an attacker to seize CPU
control and eventually execute arbitrary code under root privileges.
The following debugger dump shows what successful exploitation of this
vulnerability looks like at a low level.
Loaded symbols for /usr/qnx630/target/qnx6/x86/lib/libc.so.2
#0 0xb033ec7e in _Putfld () from /usr/qnx630/target/qnx6/x86/lib/libc.so.2
(gdb) x/i $pc
0xb033ec7e <_putfld+1082>: mov %ax,(%edx)
(gdb) i r eax edx
eax 0x4142 16706
edx 0x51525354 1364349780
Both EAX and EDX are controlled by the attacker, allowing an overwrite
of any location in memory. Furthermore, multiple writes can be achieved
by using more than one write format specifier. An attacker can choose to
overwrite the saved return address or function pointer and easily gain
control of execution.
Successful exploitation provides local attackers with super-user
privileges on the affected system. This allows the attacker to have
iDefense has confirmed the existence of these vulnerabilities in QNX
Neutrino RTOS version 6.3.0. Earlier versions are suspected to be
susceptible to exploitation as well.
Clear the set user ID or execute bits from the affected binary or remove
This issue has been corrected in QNX Momentics 6.3.0 SP3 and later versions. Patches are also available for 6.3.0 (Patch ID:230) , 6.3.0 SP1 (Patch ID:231), and 6.3.0 SP2 (Patch ID:232). Please contact your QNX representative, or visit http://www.qnx.com/account/login.html to obtain these patches.
A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not
been assigned yet.
12/23/2004 Initial vendor notification
02/07/2006 Public disclosure
iDefense Labs is credited with this discovery.
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