Linux Kernel cpuset tasks Information Disclosure Vulnerability
iDefense Security Advisory 06.07.07
Jun 07, 2007
Linux is a clone of the UNIX operating system, written from scratch by
Linus Torvalds with assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers
across the Internet. The cpuset functionality allows process to be
assigned to processors on multi-processor machines.
Local exploitation of an information disclosure vulnerability within the
Linux Kernel allows attackers to obtain sensitive information from
This vulnerability specifically exists in the "cpuset_tasks_read"
function. This function is responsible for supplying user-land
processes with data when they read from the /dev/cpuset/tasks file. The
code excerpt below shows the problem area.
1754 if (*ppos + nbytes > ctr->bufsz)
1755 nbytes = ctr->bufsz - *ppos;
1756 if (copy_to_user(buf, ctr->buf + *ppos, nbytes))
By reading from an offset (*ppos) larger than the contents of the file,
an attacker can cause an integer underflow to occur in the subtraction
on line 1755. This will result in the "copy_to_user" function on line
1756 to be called with a memory address located at a lower address than
the start of the intended buffer. This memory could potentially contain
sensitive information such as security tokens or passwords.
Exploitation of this vulnerability allows attackers to obtain sensitive
information from kernel memory.
In order to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would need access to
open the /dev/cpuset/tasks file. It is important to note that this file
does not exist unless the cpuset file system has been mounted.
Additionally, this functionality is not included by default in a
vanilla kernel build.
Furthermore, because of checks at the VFS layer and in the
'copy_to_user()' function, an attacker cannot use arbitrary values.
However, on 32-bit systems it is easily exploitable.
iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in version
2.6.20 of the Linux Kernel as installed with Fedora CORE 6. It is
suspected that previous versions, at least until 2.6.12, are also
In order to prevent exploitation of this vulnerability, discontinue use
of the cpuset file system. This can be accomplished by un-mounting the
file system using the "umount" command.
VI. VENDOR RESPONSE
The Linux kernel team has released versions 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 to
address this vulnerability. More information can be found via the
VII. CVE INFORMATION
The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2007-2875 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org/), which standardizes names for
VIII. DISCLOSURE TIMELINE
04/27/2007 Initial vendor notification
06/04/2007 Second vendor notification
06/04/2007 Initial vendor response
06/07/2007 Coordinated public disclosure
The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.
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X. LEGAL NOTICES
Copyright (c) 2007 iDefense, Inc.
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