Public Vulnerability Reports

SCO Unixware Setuid ptrace Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability



SCO Unixware is a Unix operating system that runs on many OEM platforms.

More information about the product is available from:


Local exploitation of an access validation error in SCO Unixware allows
attackers to gain root privileges.

The vulnerability specifically exists due to a failure to check
permissions on traced executables. The ptrace() system call provides an
interface for debugging other processes on the system. SCO Unixware's
implementation of the ptrace system call fails to check for setuid
permissions on binaries before attaching to the process. This results
in the complete control of memory and execution for the traced process
with root privileges. Attackers can inject data into the running setuid
process and execute arbitrary code with root permissions.


Exploitation of this vulnerability is trivial. Simply placing shellcode
in the environment and changing the instruction pointer via ptrace() is
enough to elevate privileges.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in SCO
Unixware versions 7.1.3 and 7.1.4. All previous versions of SCO Unixware
are suspected to be vulnerable.


It is not possible to reduce the impact of this vulnerability other
than to restrict access to the affected systems.


The vendor has released the following advisory to address this issue:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-2934 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


09/15/2005   Initial vendor notification
10/13/2005   Initial vendor response
02/24/2006   Public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright © 2006 Verisign, Inc.

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