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Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2011 14:11:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: Josh Bressers <>
Cc: Russell Coker <>,
        "Steven M. Christey" <>
Subject: Re: CVE request -- coreutils -- tty hijacking
 possible in "su" via TIOCSTI ioctl

----- Original Message -----
> I failed to see why setsid() doesn't prevent the priviledges
> escalation. AFAIU the exploit is only possible if the process has a
> controlling tty, which is prevented by setsid()

It may prevent it for one condition, but not others. For example if I su to
a normal user (not -c), I can keep the tty open. My point is it's not safe
to do this.

> >I would classify this as an administration issue, not a flaw in su or
> >sudo.  If you're running arbitrary things, you're in far more trouble
> >than this.
> Well, you're not running arbitrary things, you're running commands as
> a less priviledged user under the assumption that it will be
> restricted to that user.
> The scenario of having this less priviledged user compromised without
> admin knowledge is not far from real.
> I, for instance, use su -u to run commands as the www user, what are
> the odds of that user being compromised without my knowledge? The last
> thing I want is having a way for that compromised user to run
> arbitrary commands as any other user.

This is unsafe, I'm not even sure if it can be made safe honestly (without
breaking lots of things that expect tty access). Things like su and sudo
are designed to raise privileges, not lower them. If this isn't well
documented, it should be.

In your situation, I would suggest using something like ssh with key
authentication setup.


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