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TUCoPS :: Unix :: General :: ciacf026.txt

OSF/DCE Security Hole



                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                    Computer Incident Advisory Capability
                           ___  __ __    _     ___
                          /       |     /_\   /
                          \___  __|__  /   \  \___

                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

                             OSF/DCE Security Hole

July 31, 1995 0900 PDT                                              Number F-26

PROBLEM:        OSF/DCE security has a flawed aliasing mechanism in its
                registry that can potentially yield a less secure DCE cell.
DAMAGE:         Partially privileged administrators are able to gain full
SOLUTION:       Provide privileges to administrators with caution until
                a fix is available from OSF.
AVAILABILITY:	Contact the Open Software Foundation (see below).
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VULNERABILITY   Sites that make heavy use of granting administration rights
ASSESSMENT:     should strongly consider reviewing their registry, and
                installing patches when available from the OSF.
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        CRITICAL Information for OSF/DCE Security Registry

CIAC has obtained information from the Open Software Foundation,
describing a vulnerability in their OSF/DCE software. Specific details
of the vulnerability are provided in the included OSF security


                   Advisory on OSF/DCE Security Hole
                             July 19, 1995
       It has been discovered that OSF/DCE security has a flawed aliasing
       mechanism in its registry that can potentially yield a less secure
       DCE cell.

       Multiple administrators in a DCE cell (i.e., principals with the
       privileges required to create principals and accounts within the DCE
       registry), some of which are intended to be less trusted than the
       cell administrator (e.g., principals intended to be restricted to
       create principals and accounts only within a subset of DCE registry
       name space), cannot be prevented from acquiring full privileges of
       the cell administrator. Due to a flaw in the DCE security registry
       such less privileged administrators are able to gain full privileges
       by creating an alias to the cell administrator. The security server
       grants an alias principal full rights of the principal it is aliased

       DCE security registry principals are generally not allowed to create
       accounts. Only an account designated as some type of administrator,
       by explicitly creating ACL entries for that principal, allows it to
       do things to the registry that normal users are not allowed to do,
       that is, create principals and accounts in a certain part of the
       security name space. In OSF/DCE as it ships, only cell_admin is
       given such privileges. To that effect, the DCE cell administrator can
       prevent any loss of security by following the guidelines described

       This security hole has existed in all releases of OSF/DCE todate.
       To avoid the problem in releases prior to OSF/DCE 1.1, the DCE cell
       administrators should not explicitly give registry administration
       rights to principals that would not otherwise have access to the
       cell administrator account itself. As distributed by OSF, only
       cell_admin is given such rights.

       OSF is in the process of providing a fix for this defect to DCE 1.1
       support licensees for them to apply to their DCE 1.1 based products.
       The end-users may ask their DCE vendors for such a fix. All future
       releases of OSF/DCE will have this fix incorporated.


     OSF Systems Engineering

     Open Software Foundation
     11 Cambridge Center,
     Cambridge, MA 02142

     Telephone: +1 617 621 8990



CIAC wishes to thank OSF for the information provided in this

CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Capability, is the computer security 
incident response team for the U.S. Department of Energy. CIAC is located at 
the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. CIAC is 
also a founding member of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security 
Teams, a global organization established to foster cooperation and 
coordination among computer security teams worldwide. 

CIAC services are available to DOE and DOE contractors, and CIAC can be 
contacted at:
    Voice:    510-422-8193
    FAX:      510-423-8002
    STU-III:  510-423-2604

For emergencies and off-hour assistance, DOE and DOE contractor sites may 
contact CIAC 24-hours a day. During off hours (5PM - 8AM PST), call the CIAC 
voice number 510-422-8193 and leave a message, or call 800-759-7243 
(800-SKY-PAGE) to send a Sky Page. CIAC has two Sky Page PIN numbers, the 
primary PIN number, 8550070, is for the CIAC duty person, and the secondary 
PIN number, 8550074 is for the CIAC Project Leader.

Previous CIAC notices, anti-virus software, and other information are 
available from the CIAC Computer Security Archive. 

   World Wide Web:
   Anonymous FTP: (
   Modem access:  	(510) 423-4753 (14.4K baud)
                  	(510) 423-3331 (9600 baud)

CIAC has several self-subscribing mailing lists for electronic publications:
1. CIAC-BULLETIN for Advisories, highest priority - time critical information 
   and Bulletins, important computer security information;
2. CIAC-NOTES for Notes, a collection of computer security articles;
3. SPI-ANNOUNCE for official news about Security Profile Inspector (SPI) 
   software updates, new features, distribution and availability;
4. SPI-NOTES, for discussion of problems and solutions regarding the use of 
   SPI products.

Our mailing lists are managed by a public domain software package called 
ListProcessor, which ignores E-mail header subject lines. To subscribe (add 
yourself) to one of our mailing lists, send the following request as the 
E-mail message body, substituting CIAC-BULLETIN, CIAC-NOTES, SPI-ANNOUNCE or 
SPI-NOTES for list-name and valid information for LastName FirstName and 
PhoneNumber when sending

E-mail to
	subscribe list-name LastName, FirstName PhoneNumber
  e.g.,	subscribe ciac-notes OUHara, Scarlett W. 404-555-1212 x36

You will receive an acknowledgment containing address, initial PIN, and 
information on how to change either of them, cancel your subscription, or 
get help. 

PLEASE NOTE: Many users outside of the DOE and ESnet computing communities
receive CIAC bulletins.  If you are not part of these communities, please
contact your agency's response team to report incidents. Your agency's team
will coordinate with CIAC. The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams
(FIRST) is a world-wide organization. A list of FIRST member organizations and
their constituencies can be obtained by sending email to
with an empty subject line and a message body containing the line: send

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the
United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor the
University of California nor any of their employees, makes any warranty,
express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the
accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product,
or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately
owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process,
or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not
necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by
the United States Government or the University of California. The views and
opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those
of the United States Government or the University of California, and shall not
be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

CIAC BULLETINS ISSUED IN FY95 (Previous bulletins available from CIAC)
(F-01)	SGI IRIX serial_ports Vulnerability
(F-02)	Summary of HP Security Bulletins
(F-03)	Restricted Distribution
(F-04)	Security Vulnerabilities in DECnet/OSI for OpenVMS
(F-05)	SCO Unix at, login, prwarn, sadc, and pt_chmod 
          Patches Available
(F-06)	Novell UnixWare sadc, urestore, and suid_exec Vulnerabilities
(F-07)	New and Revised HP Bulletins
(F-08)	Internet Address Spoofing and Hijacked Session Attacks
(F-09)	Unix /bin/mail Vulnerabilities
(F-10)	HP-UX Remote Watch
(F-11)	Unix NCSA httpd Vulnerability
(F-12)	Kerberos Telnet Encryption Vulnerability
(F-13)	Unix sendmail vulnerabilities
(F-14)	HP-UX Malicious Code Sequences
(F-15)	HP-UX "at" and "cron" vulnerabilities
(F-16)	SGI IRIX Desktop Permissions Tool Vulnerability
(F-17)	Limited Distribution
(F-18)	MPE/iX Vulnerabilities
(F-19)	Protecting HP-UX Systems Against SATAN
(F-20)	Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks (SATAN)
(F-21)  Protecting SUN OS Systems Against SATAN
(F-22)  SATAN Password Disclosure
(F-23)	Protecting IBM AIX Systems Against SATAN
(F-24)  Protecting SGI IRIX Systems Against SATAN
(F-25)  Cisco IOS Router Software Vulnerability

CIAC NOTES ISSUED IN FY1995 (Previous Notes available from CIAC)
04c	December 8, 1994
05d	January 11, 1995
06	March 22, 1995
07	March 29, 1995
08	April 4, 1995
09	April 24, 1995
10a	June 16, 1995

Version: 2.6.2


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