'Dangerous' 7-year-old Linux Kernel vulnerability discovered

News by Roi Perez

Users are encouraged to install the latest security updates or block the flawed module manually to safeguard enterprise and home use of the OS.

Positive Technologies security researcher Alexander Popov, has found and fixed a vulnerability (CVE-2017-2636) in the Linux kernel that allowed local users to gain privilege escalation or cause a denial of service attack.

This issue affects the majority of popular Linux distributions including RHEL 6/7,Fedora, SUSE, Debian, and Ubuntu.

The researcher found a race condition in the n_hdlc driver that leads to double-freeing of kernel memory, which can be exploited for privilege escalation in the operating system. The bug was evaluated as dangerous with a CVSS v3 score of 7.8.

"The vulnerability is old, so it is widespread across Linux workstations and servers,” notes Alexander Popov in a press release. β€œTo automatically load the flawed module, an attacker needs only unprivileged user rights. Additionally, the exploit doesn't require any special hardware.”

The discovered flaw was introduced on 22,June 2009. It was revealed during system calls testing with the syzkaller fuzzer. On 28 February, 2017, the researcher reported the vulnerability to kernel.org and attached the patch to fix it and the exploit prototype.

On 7 March the CVE-2017-2636 vulnerability was disclosed, and the security updates were published. The bug can also be mitigated manually with special rules that block kernel modules from loading.

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