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TUCoPS :: Unix :: Various Flavours :: ciack052.htm

AIX cdmount Vulnerability
AIX cdmount Vulnerability Privacy and Legal Notice


K-052: AIX cdmount Vulnerability

June 21, 2000 21:00 GMT

Number K-052

PROBLEM:       The cdmount program allows regular users to mount CD-ROM
               filesystems. A malicious user could execute cdmount giving
               commands containing shell metacharacters.
PLATFORM:      AIX systems with the LPP UMS.objects and below
DAMAGE:        A malicious user can run arbitrary commands, as root, through
               shell metacharacter command manipulation.
SOLUTION:      IBM is currently working on the issue in APAR 4.3x: IY10903
               (Authorized Problem Analysis Report). Apply one of the
               temporary fixes, as suggested by the advisory.

VULNERABILITY  The risk is MEDIUM. The capability currently exists for root
ASSESSMENT:    command execution.

[******  Begin ISS Advisory ******]



Internet Security Systems Security Advisory
June 20, 2000

Insecure call of external program in AIX cdmount

The AIX cdmount program allows regular users to mount CD-ROM filesystems.
This program is basically a SUID to root wrapper of the mount command.
Insecure handling of the arguments to cdmount may allow a local regular user
to execute commands as root.

Local users may gain root privileges.

Affected Versions:
AIX systems with the LPP UMS.objects and below installed. Use the
command 'lslpp -l UMS.objects' to verify if a vulnerable version is installed.

The cdmount program is part of the AIX UltiMedia Services (UMS) package. UMS
provides multimedia applications to AIX workstations. The cdmount program is
normally used as a helper to UMS multimedia players. It has SUID root
permissions to allow regular users to mount a CD-ROM. The system()library
subroutine is used within cdmount to invoke the mount program..  This
subroutine spawns a shell to execute the mount command with arguments
provided by the user. An attacker may execute arbitrary commands as root by
calling cdmount with arguments containing shell metacharacters.

ISS recommends removing the SUID bit from cdmount by executing the following
# chmod 555 /usr/lpp/UMS/bin/cdmount

IBM is currently working on the following APAR (Authorized Problem Analysis
Report), which will be available soon:
APAR 4.3.x:  IY10903

Until the official fix is available, if UMS is not being used IBM recommends
uninstalling UMS or removing the SUID bit from cdmount.

APARs may be ordered using Electronic Fix Distribution (via FixDist) or from
the IBM Support Center. For more information on FixDist, go to or send an email to with a subject of "FixDist".

Additional Information:
The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name
CAN-2000-0466 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE
list, which standardizes names for security problems.

This vulnerability was discovered and researched by Oliver Atoa-Ortiz of the
ISS X-Force. ISS would like to thank IBM for their response and handling of
this vulnerability.


About Internet Security Systems (ISS)
Internet Security Systems (ISS) is a leading global provider of security
management solutions for the Internet. By providing industry-leading
SAFEsuite security software, remote managed security services, and strategic
consulting and education offerings, ISS is a trusted security provider to
its customers, protecting digital assets and ensuring safe and uninterrupted
e-business. ISS' security management solutions protect more than 5,500
customers worldwide including 21 of the 25 largest U.S. commercial banks, 10
of the largest telecommunications companies and over 35 government agencies.
Founded in 1994, ISS is headquartered in Atlanta, GA, with additional
offices throughout North America and international operations in Asia,
Australia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. For more information,
visit the Internet Security Systems web site at or call

Copyright (c) 2000 Internet Security Systems, Inc.

Permission is hereby granted for the redistribution of this Alert
electronically. It is not to be edited in any way without express consent of
the X-Force. If you wish to reprint the whole or any part of this Alert in
any other medium excluding electronic medium, please email
for permission.

The information within this paper may change without notice. Use of this
information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There are
NO warranties with regard to this information. In no event shall the author
be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of or in connection with
the use or spread of this information. Any use of this information is at the
user's own risk.

X-Force PGP Key available at: as well as
on MIT's PGP key server and's key server.

Please send suggestions, updates, and comments to X-Force: of
Internet Security Systems, Inc.

Revision History
June 20, 2000:  Initial release.

Version: 2.6.3a
Charset: noconv


[******  End ISS Advisory ******]

CIAC wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Internet Security Systems (ISS) for the information contained in this bulletin.

CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE Contractors, and the NIH. CIAC can be contacted at:

    Voice:          +1 925-422-8193 (7 x 24)
    FAX:            +1 925-423-8002
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    World Wide Web:
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    Anonymous FTP:
                     (same machine -- either one will work)

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.
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