FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-SA-01:

FreeBSD Security Advisories security-advisories at
Tue Jul 10 07:02:34 PDT 2001


FreeBSD-SA-01:42                                           Security Advisory
                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          signal handling during exec may allow local root

Category:       core
Module:         kernel
Announced:      2001-07-10
Credits:        Georgi Guninski <guninski at>
Affects:        All released versions of FreeBSD 4.x,
                FreeBSD 4.3-STABLE prior to the correction date.
Corrected:      2001-07-09
FreeBSD only:   Yes

I.   Background

When a process forks, it inherits the parent's signals.  When the
process execs, the kernel clears the signal handlers because they are
not valid in the new address space.

II.  Problem Description

A flaw exists in FreeBSD signal handler clearing that would allow for
some signal handlers to remain in effect after the exec.  Most of the
signals were cleared, but some signal hanlders were not.  This allowed
an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of a setuid

All versions of 4.x prior to the correction date including and
4.3-RELEASE are vulnerable to this problem.  The problem has been
corrected by copying the inherited signal handlers and resetting the
signals instead of sharing the signal handlers.

III. Impact

Local users may be able to gain increased privileges on the local

IV.  Workaround

Do not allow untrusted users to gain access to the local system.

V.   Solution

One of the following:

1) Upgrade your vulnerable FreeBSD system to 4.3-STABLE after the
correction date.

2) To patch your present system: download the relevant patch from the
below location, and execute the following commands as root:

[FreeBSD 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 base systems]

This patch has been verified to apply to FreeBSD 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 only.
It may or may not apply to older releases.

# fetch
# fetch

Verify the detached PGP signature using your PGP utility.

# cd /usr/src/sys/kern
# patch -p < /path/to/patch

[ Recompile your kernel as described in and reboot the
system ]

Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (FreeBSD)
Comment: FreeBSD: The Power To Serve


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