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Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2019 18:28:12 +0100
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: virtual consoles

On Mon, Dec 02, 2019 at 08:56:38AM -0800, Tavis Ormandy wrote:
> Regardless of your position, this is certainly possible on desktop Linux
> too, unprivileged users can start a new X server and switch virtual
> console, even over ssh.
> e.g.
> $ dbus-send --system --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.login1 /org/freedesktop/login1/seat/seat0 org.freedesktop.login1.Seat.SwitchTo uint32:2
> (note: object paths may vary by distro, change the 2 to a different
> number if you're already on VT2, or seat0 if you're on a different seat)

If this in fact works over SSH and from a user account different than
the one logged in on the currently active virtual console, then I'd say
it's a vulnerability on its own, regardless of the social engineering
aspects you mention.

Why does this functionality even exist?

> Should this have some policykit action requirement, or require physical
> presence? I don't know the answer.

Maybe simply drop the misfeature?


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