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Mandrake: 'modutils' vulnerability Print E-mail
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Posted by Team   
Mandrake All 2.3.x versions of modutils (since March 12 1999) contain a vulnerability that can lead to a local root compromise.


                Linux-Mandrake Security Update Advisory

Package name:           modutils
Date:                   November 16th, 2000
Advisory ID:            MDKSA-2000:071

Affected versions:      7.1, 7.2

Problem Description:

 All 2.3.x versions of modutils (since March 12 1999) contain a 
 vulnerability that can lead to a local root compromise.  The modprobe
 program uses popen() to execute the "echo" program argumented with
 user input.  Because popen() relies on /bin/sh to parse the command
 string and execute "echo", un-escaped shell meta-characters can be
 included in user input to execute commands.  Although modprobe is not
 installed setuid root, this vulnerability can be exploited to gain root
 access provided the target system is using kmod.  Kmod is a kernel
 facility that automatically executes the program modprobe when a module
 is requested via request_module().  One program that can take advantage
 of this vulnerability is ping.  When a  device is specified at the 
 command line that doesn't exist, request_module is called with the 
 user-supplied arguments passed to the kernel.  The kernel then takes 
 the arguments and executes modprobe with them.  Arbitrary commands 
 included in the argument for module name (device name to ping) are then
 executed when popen() is called as root.

 A new version of modutils (2.3.20) has been released that fixes this
 particular vulnerability.  modutils still supports meta expansion, 
 including back quoted commands, but  only for data read from the 
 configuration file.  This assumes that when modutils is run as root 
 out of the kernel, normal users cannot specify their own configuration 

Please verify these md5 checksums of the updates prior to upgrading to
ensure the integrity of the downloaded package.  You can do this by
running the md5sum program on the downloaded package by using
"md5sum package.rpm".

Linux-Mandrake 7.1:
de9f58e8def6af9174eb53227422bb70  7.1/RPMS/modutils-2.3.20-1.2mdk.i586.rpm
05f7919a3353537fe97f0405120bb0f7  7.1/SRPMS/modutils-2.3.20-1.2mdk.src.rpm

Linux-Mandrake 7.2:
83071582ed7ae9dbe93f13a386c9f500  7.2/RPMS/modutils-2.3.20-1.1mdk.i586.rpm
a1fb2ec6a86c131a3ae2b45bca976e31  7.2/SRPMS/modutils-2.3.20-1.1mdk.src.rpm

To upgrade automatically, use « MandrakeUpdate ».  

If you want to upgrade manually, download the updated package from one 
of our FTP server mirrors and uprade with "rpm -Fvh *.rpm".  

You can download the updates directly from one of the mirror sites
listed at:  

Updated packages are available in the "updates/[ver]/RPMS/" directory.  
For example, if you are looking for an updated RPM package for
Linux-Mandrake 7.2, look for it in "updates/7.2/RPMS/".  Updated source
RPMs are available as well, but you generally do not need to download

Please be aware that sometimes it takes the mirrors a few hours to 
update, so if you want an immediate upgrade, please use one of the two 
above-listed mirrors.

You can view other security advisories for Linux-Mandrake at:

If you want to report vulnerabilities, please contact

Linux-Mandrake has two security-related mailing list services that 
anyone can subscribe to:

  Linux-Mandrake's security announcements mailing list.  Only 
  announcements are sent to this list and it is read-only.

  Linux-Mandrake's security discussion mailing list.  This list is open
  to anyone to discuss Linux-Mandrake security specifically and Linux
  security in general.

To subscribe to either list, send a message to
with "subscribe [listname]" in the body of the message.

To remove yourself from either list, send a message to
with "unsubscribe [listname]" in the body of the message.

To get more information on either list, send a message to
with "info [listname]" in the body of the message.

Optionally, you can use the web interface to subscribe to or unsubscribe
from either list:

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