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Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2019 14:12:36 +0200
From: Matthias Gerstner <>
Subject: Linux kernel: no permission check during open() time of
 /proc/[pid]/maps in kernels < 3.18


I stumbled over a leak of memory mappings for arbitrary processes in
kernels older than version 3.18.

As it turns out the permissions check for the pseudo file in
/proc/[pid]/maps in affected kernels is performed not during open() time
but during read() time. This allows an unprivileged user to open a valid
file descriptor for these maps files and pass it to privileged programs
like setuid root binaries or D-Bus services running as root that support
file descriptor passing in their interface.

The privileged program needs behave in a way that the passed file
descriptor is read() with root premissions and the content is passed
back to the unprivileged user in some way.

For example the opiesu program from OPIE [1], if installed setuid root,
provides the necessary features to read arbitrary /proc/[pid]/maps files
as an unprivileged user. It reads only one line from the user's stdin
and outputs it again on stdout. By repeatedly performing this operation
the complete maps file content can be obtained. This is a quick PoC bash
script to exploit this to obtain the maps contents of PID 1:

exec 3</proc/1/maps
while true; do
    OUT=`/usr/bin/opiesu <&3 2>/dev/null | grep response | cut -d ' ' -f 3-`
    echo "$OUT"
    [ -z "$OUT" ] && break

The issue was fixed in the kernel via commit [2]. I don't think this
ever got a CVE or a security note. As a result on systems running an
affected kernel hardenings like ASLR aren't effective against local


Best regards


Matthias Gerstner <>
Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Inf. (FH), Security Engineer
Phone: +49 911 740 53 290
GPG Key ID: 0x14C405C971923553

SUSE Linux GmbH
GF: Felix Imendörffer, Mary Higgins, Sri Rasiah
HRB 21284 (AG Nuernberg)

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