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Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:47:32 +0100
From: One Thousand Gnomes <>
To: Jann Horn <>
Cc: Matt Brown <>,,,
 Kroah-Hartman <>,,
 Corbet <>, Kees Cook <>,
        Andrew Morton
Subject: Re: [PATCH v5 0/2] security: tty: make TIOCSTI ioctl require

> open() what? As far as I know, for System-V PTYs, there is no path you can
> open() that will give you the PTY master. Am I missing something?

Sorry brain fade - no.
> >> > If I want to do the equvalent of the TIOCSTI attack then I fork a process
> >> > and exit the parent. The child can now use ptrace to reprogram your shell
> >> > to do whatever interesting things it likes (eg running child processes
> >> > called "su" via a second pty/tty pair). Not exactly rocket science.  
> >>
> >> Why would the child be able to ptrace the shell? AFAICS, in the most
> >> relevant scenarios, the child can't ptrace the shell because the
> >> shell has a different UID (in the case of e.g. su or sudo). In other  
> >
> > If I am the attacker wanting to type something into your su when you go
> > and su from my account, or where the user account is trojanned I do the
> > following
> >
> > fork
> > exit parent
> > child ptraces the shell (same uid as it's not setuid)
> >
> > You type "su" return
> > The modified shell opens a new pty/tty pair and runs su over it
> > My ptrace hooks watch the pty/tty traffic until you go to the loo
> > My ptrace hooks switch the console
> > My ptrace hooks type lots of stuff and hack your machine while eating the
> > output
> >
> > and you come back, do stuff and then exit
> >
> > And if you are in X it's even easier and I don't even need to care about
> > sessions or anything. X has no mechanism to sanely fix the problem, but
> > Wayland does.  
> I think the "When using a program like su or sudo" in the patch description
> refers to the usecase where you go from a more privileged context (e.g. a
> root shell) to a less privileged one (e.g. a shell as a service-specific
> account used to run a daemon), not the other way around.

Which is the sudo case and why sudo uses a separate pty/tty pair as it's
not just TIOCSTI that's an issue but there are a load of ioctls that do
things like cause signals to the process or are just annoying -
vhangup(), changing the speed etc

(And for console changing the keymap - which is a nasty one)

> [However, I do think that it's a nice side effect of this patch that it will
> prevent a malicious program from directly injecting something like an
> SSH command into my shell in a sufficiently hardened environment
> (with LSM restrictions that prevent the malicious program from opening
> SSH keyfiles or executing another program that can do that). Although
> you could argue that in such a case, the LSM should be taking care of
> blocking TIOCSTI.]

I would submit that creating a new pty/tty pair is the proper answer for
that case however. Making the tty calls respect namespaces is however
still a no-brainer IMHO.


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