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Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2017 15:55:38 +0100
From: Jakub Wilk <>
Subject: Re: Fw: Security risk of vim swap files

* Leonid Isaev <>, 2017-10-31, 20:33:
>Just to clarify:
>1. vim creates a swap file applying user's umask.

I reproduced Kurt's findings on Debian unstable. Vim chmods the swapfile 
without honouring umask.

It does seem to keep read permissions of the original file, which is not 
the same thing as honouring umask, and which is a rather dubious 
behavior, especially when editing files belonging to other users.

>2. It is totally OK to edit files in /tmp or /dev/shm or /var/tmp.

No, it's not.

>The described "attack" when someone plants a /tmp/file.swp before 
>another user edits /tmp/file is not going to work because vim will 
>complain that the swap file already exists.

Sounds like a successful (albeit mild) DoS attack to me.
But it's worse than that. vim attempts to read the swapfile before 
showing you the complaint:

$ mkfifo -m 644 /tmp/.bar.swp
$ vim /tmp/bar
[hangs forever]

Jakub Wilk

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