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IBM AIX lspath Local File Access Vulnerability

02.10.05

BACKGROUND

The lspath program is a setuid root application, installed by default
under newer versions of IBM AIX. It is used to display information about
MultiPath I/O devices.

DESCRIPTION

Local exploitation of a file access vulnerability in the lspath command
included by default in multiple versions of IBM Corp.'s AIX operating
system could allow for the reading of one line of any file on the
system, regardless of permissions.

The problem specifically exists in the -f option. If a user specifies a
file with the –f option, the first line (up to the first space) in that
file will be displayed on the screen along with an error message.

ANALYSIS

The format of sensitive AIX authentication files (namely
/etc/security/passwd) limit the impact of this vulnerability due to the
fact that there is no protected data on the first line of the file.
However, exploitation does not require any knowledge of application
internals, making exploitation of this vulnerability trivial, even for
unskilled attackers.

DETECTION

iDEFENSE has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in lower
patch levels of IBM AIX version 5.2. It is suspected that previous
versions are also vulnerable.

WORKAROUND

Only allow trusted users local access to security critical systems.
Alternately, remove the setuid bit from lspath using chmod u-s
/usr/sbin/lspath

VENDOR RESPONSE

Vendor advisories for this issue are available at:

For AIX 5.2:

https://techsupport.services.ibm.com/server/pseries.subscriptionSvcs?mode=1&heading=AIX52&topic=SECURITY&month=ALL

For AIX 5.3:

https://techsupport.services.ibm.com/server/pseries.subscriptionSvcs?mode=1&heading=AIX53&topic=SECURITY&month=ALL

CVE INFORMATION

 The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
names CAN-2005-0262 to these issues. This is a candidate for inclusion
in the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes names for
security problems.

DISCLOSURE TIMELINE

12/21/2004   Initial vendor notification
01/07/2004   Initial vendor response
02/10/2004   Coordinated public disclosure

CREDIT

iDEFENSE Labs is credited with this discovery.

Get paid for vulnerability research
http://www.idefense.com/poi/teams/vcp.jsp

LEGAL NOTICES

Copyright © 2005 Verisign, Inc.

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Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
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