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Atstake Security Advisory 03-10-28.3

Atstake Security Advisory 03-10-28.3
Posted Oct 30, 2003
Authored by David Goldsmith, Atstake | Site atstake.com

Atstake Security Advisory A102803-3 - It is possible to cause the the Mac OS X kernel prior to v10.3 to crash by specifying a long command line argument. While this primarily affects local users there may be conditions where this situation is remotely exploitable if a program which receives network input spawns another process with user input. It is possible to use this condition to dump small portions of memory back to an attacker.

tags | kernel, local
systems | apple, osx
SHA-256 | 319ce15f5986529ed5010d67654eb62e5341d237edf4d5f20e5bf93b121fe0a7

Atstake Security Advisory 03-10-28.3

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@stake, Inc.
www.atstake.com

Security Advisory

Advisory Name: Long argv[] Buffer Overflow
Release Date: 10/28/2003
Application: Mac OS X
Platform: Mac OS X (10.2.8 and below)
Severity: Attacker can crash Mac OS X and possibly execute
commands as root
Author: Matt Miller <mpmiller@mac.com>
Dave G. <daveg@atstake.com>
Vendor Status: Vendor has fixed release available
CVE Candidate: CAN-2003-0895
Reference: www.atstake.com/research/advisories/2003/a102803-3.txt


Overview:

It is possible to cause the Mac OS X kernel to crash by specifying
a long command line argument. While this primarily affects local
users there may be conditions where this situation is remotely
exploitable if a program which receives network input spawns another
process with user input. It is possible to use this condition to
dump small portions of memory back to an attacker.


Details:

It is possible to cause the Mac OS X kernel to crash by specifying
a long command line argument. The length of the total arguments must
be within a narrow range to cause this condition. When it occurs, the
operating system will immediately crash, not allowing users to perform
any task. No logs will be generated, nor will a kernel panic message
be displayed. The machine will reboot on its own after several
minutes.

It is also possible to use this condition to dump small portions of
memory back to an attacker. As far as @stake can tell, only memory
addresses are being returned back to the user, which is typically
not sensitive data.

@stake has not fully investigated the extent that this attack can be
exploited, but since it appears to be an overflow in the kernel the
severity of "possibly execute commands as root" is warranted.


Vendor Response:

Kernel: Fixes CAN-2003-0895 where it may be possible for a local user
to cause the Mac OS X kernel to crash by specifying a long command
line argument. The machine will reboot on its own after several
minutes.

This is fixed in Mac OS X 10.3. For further information on Mac
OS X 10.3, please see http://www.apple.com/macosx/


Recommendation:

Upgrade to Panther (Mac OS X 10.3)


Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Information:

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned
the following names to these issues. These are candidates for
inclusion in the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes
names for security problems.

CAN-2003-0895 Long argv[] buffer overflow

@stake Vulnerability Reporting Policy:
http://www.atstake.com/research/policy/

@stake Advisory Archive:
http://www.atstake.com/research/advisories/

PGP Key:
http://www.atstake.com/research/pgp_key.asc

Copyright 2003 @stake, Inc. All rights reserved.

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