Public Vulnerability Reports

Multiple Vendor X Server MIT-SHM Extension Information Disclosure Vulnerability



The X Window System is a graphical windowing system based on a client/server model. More information about about The X Window system is available at the following link.


Local exploitation of an information disclosure vulnerability in the X.Org X server, as included in various vendors' operating system distributions, could allow an attacker to gain access to sensitive information stored in server memory.

The vulnerability exists when creating a Pixmap in the fbShmPutImage() function. The width and height of the Pixmap, which are controlled by the user, are not properly validated to ensure that the Pixmap they define are within the bounds of the shared memory segment. This allows an attacker to read arbitrary areas of memory in the X server process.


Exploitation allows an attacker to read arbitrary memory within the X Server's address space. By itself, the impact of this vulnerability is minimal. However, when coupled with a code execution vulnerability, this vulnerability can be used to greatly increase the reliability of an exploit. Additionally, this vulnerability can be used to crash the server. If the server automatically restarts, this can be useful since it resets the state of the server to a known state.

If an X Server is configured to listen for TCP based client connections, and a client is granted access to create sessions (via the xhosts file), then the vulnerability can be exploited remotely.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in X server 1.4 included with X11R7.3, with all patches as of 03/01/08 applied. Previous versions may also be affected.


Access to the vulnerable code can be prevented by preventing the X server from loading the MIT-SHM extension. However, doing so may impair the functionality of the server. Adding the following lines to the X configuration file will disable the MIT-SHM extension:

 Section "Extensions" Option "MIT-SHM" "disable" EndSection 


The X.Org team has addressed this vulnerability by releasing patches for version 1.4 of the X server. For more information, consult the X.Org advisory at the following URL.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2008-1379 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


03/26/2008 Initial vendor notification
03/26/2008 Initial vendor response
06/11/2008 Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by regenrecht.

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