[Full-Disclosure] Linux kernel mremap vulnerability
ihaquer at isec.pl
Mon Jan 5 12:30:32 GMT 2004
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Synopsis: Linux kernel do_mremap local privilege escalation vulnerability
Product: Linux kernel
Version: 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6 series
Author: Paul Starzetz <ihaquer at isec.pl>, Wojciech Purczynski
<cliph at isec.pl>
Date: January 5, 2004
A critical security vulnerability has been found in the Linux kernel
memory management code in mremap(2) system call due to incorrect bound
The mremap system call provides functionality of resizing (shrinking or
growing) as well as moving across process's addressable space of exist
ing virtual memory areas (VMAs) or any of its parts.
A typical VMA covers at least one memory page (which is exactly 4kB on
the i386 architecture). An incorrect bound check discovered inside the
do_mremap() kernel code performing remapping of a virtual memory area
may lead to creation of a virtual memory area of 0 bytes length.
The problem bases on the general mremap flaw that remapping of 2 pages
from inside a VMA creates a memory hole of only one page in length but
an additional VMA of two pages. In the case of a zero sized remapping
request no VMA hole is created but an additional VMA descriptor of 0
bytes in length is created.
Such a malicious virtual memory area may disrupt the operation of other
parts of the kernel memory management subroutines finally leading to un
A typical process's memory layout showing invalid VMA created with
mremap system call:
08048000-0804c000 r-xp 00000000 03:05 959142 /tmp/test
0804c000-0804d000 rw-p 00003000 03:05 959142 /tmp/test
0804d000-0804e000 rwxp 00000000 00:00 0
40000000-40014000 r-xp 00000000 03:05 1544523 /lib/ld-2.3.2.so
40014000-40015000 rw-p 00013000 03:05 1544523 /lib/ld-2.3.2.so
40015000-40016000 rw-p 00000000 00:00 0
4002c000-40158000 r-xp 00000000 03:05 1544529 /lib/libc.so.6
40158000-4015d000 rw-p 0012b000 03:05 1544529 /lib/libc.so.6
4015d000-4015f000 rw-p 00000000 00:00 0
[*] 60000000-60000000 rwxp 00000000 00:00 0
bfffe000-c0000000 rwxp fffff000 00:00 0
The broken VMA in the above example has been marked with a [*].
Since no special privileges are required to use the mremap(2) system
call any process may misuse its unexpected behavior to disrupt the ker
nel memory management subsystem. Proper exploitation of this vulnerabil
ity may lead to local privilege escalation including execution of arbi
trary code with kernel level access. Proof-of-concept exploit code has
been created and successfully tested giving UID 0 shell on vulnerable
The exploitability of the discovered vulnerability is possible, although
not a trivial one. We have identified at least two different attack vec
tors for the 2.4 kernel series. All users are encouraged to patch all
vulnerable systems as soon as appropriate vendor patches are released.
Paul Starzetz <ihaquer at isec.pl> has identified the vulnerability and
performed further research. COPYING, DISTRIBUTION, AND MODIFICATION OF
INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE IS ALLOWED ONLY WITH EXPRESS PERMISSION OF
ONE OF THE AUTHORS.
This document and all the information it contains are provided "as is",
for educational purposes only, without warranty of any kind, whether ex
press or implied.
The authors reserve the right not to be responsible for the topicality,
correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided in
this document. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of
any information provided, including any kind of information which is in
complete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected.
iSEC Security Research
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.0.7 (GNU/Linux)
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Full-Disclosure is hosted and sponsored by Secunia.