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TUCoPS :: Linux :: Apps A-M :: klogd.txt

klogd 1.3-22 buffer overflow.

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Date:         Thu, 10 Sep 1998 10:26:06 +0200
From:         Michal Zalewski <lcamtuf@IDS.PL>
Subject:      [Linux] klogd 1.3-22 buffer overflow

Good morning,

This time - buffer overflow in Linux klogd daemon from sysklogd-1.3
package (up to release 22 - affects Red Hat 5.x and Slackware 3.x, no data
about other distributions).

The problem:

Kernel messages are stored in 4 kB cyclic printk ring. Klogd reads this
buffer using /proc/kmsg to 4 kB long buffer, that's good. But then, data
is split into lines, by copying data until '\n' is reached. What a pity,
line buffer is only 1 kB long - sometimes, it's not enough... Exploitable?
Could be...


To exploit this security hole, we have to generate very long kernel
message (or a lot of short messages with no '\n' inside). There are two
potential ways of doing this:

a) In kernel source (or any of installed modules), find printk not
   terminated with '\n'. There are some old, obscure messages both in
   2.0.xx and Yep, but what now? You have to generate it :-S
   It's especially easy when poking with strange network packets
   (so it's possible to perform remote DoS attack). Unfortunately, DoS
   if probably all you can do - enjoy SEGV in klogd daemon, or (better?),
   by overwriting fd to /proc/kmsg lyingo on the stack, increase LA and
   generate enormous amount of error messages like 'Cannot read /proc
   filesystem', apparently from kernel.

b) ...or, in kernel ( is more interesting), locate any printk with
   %s in format string, where substituted string depends in some way on
   luser (process/filename?). Then, you should be able to parse arbitrary
   shellcode into buffer, obtaining root privledges.


In klog.c, at the beginning, there are two '#define's. First one is
responsible for main buffer size - don't change it, 4096 should be ok. The
next one is line buffer size - hmm, replace 1024 with 4096, for example...
Or, better, implement some range checking ;>

Quick vunerability test:

-- gcc -c -O3 test.c; insmod test; rmmod test --
#define MODULE
#define __KERNEL__

#include <linux/module.h>
#include <linux/kernel.h>
#include <linux/types.h>
#include <linux/string.h>
#include <linux/malloc.h>
#include <asm/unistd.h>
#include <linux/version.h>
#include <asm/string.h>

int init_module(void) {
  printk("INSERT_ABOUT_2000_BYTES_OF_JUNK_HERE\n"); return 0;

void cleanup_module(void) {}

Modify this source by increasing amount of junk after printk, compile,
insmod and watch out what happened to klogd.

Michal Zalewski [] [ENSI / marchew] [ SYSADM]
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