[sudo-announce] Secure path feature may be circumvented

Todd C. Miller Todd.Miller at courtesan.com
Wed Jun 2 15:36:17 EDT 2010

Sudo versions 1.7.2p7 and 1.6.9p23 are now available.  These releases
fix a flaw that may allow an attacker to bypass the "secure path"
feature if it is enabled.

    Sudo "secure path" feature works by replacing the PATH environment
    variable with a value specified in the sudoers file, or at
    compile time if the --with-secure-path configure option is used.
    The flaw is that sudo only replaces the first instance of PATH
    in the environment.  If the program being run through sudo uses
    the last instance of PATH in the environment, an attacker may
    be able to avoid the "secure path" restrictions.

Sudo versions affected:
    Sudo 1.3.1 through 1.6.9p22 and Sudo 1.7.0 through 1.7.2p6.

Download links:

    Most versions of the C library function getenv() return the
    first instance of an environment variable to the caller.  However,
    some programs, notably the GNU Bourne Again SHell (bash), do
    their own environment parsing and may choose the last instance
    of a variable rather than the first one.

    An attacker may manipulate the environment of the process that
    executes Sudo such that a second PATH variable is present.  When
    Sudo runs a bash script, it is this second PATH variable that
    is used by bash, regardless of whether or not Sudo has overwritten
    the first instance of PATH.  This may allow an attacker to
    subvert the program being run under Sudo and execute commands
    he/she would not otherwise be allowed to run.

    Exploitation of the bug requires that Sudo be configured with
    the "secure path" option enabled, either at build-time (via
    configure) or at run-time (via sudoers).  It also requires that
    the user be granted permission to run a command that does its
    own environment handling, such as a bash script, and that this
    command does not set PATH itself.

    If the "secure path" feature is not in use there is no impact.

    Evan Broder and Anders Kaseorg of Ksplice, Inc.

See Also:

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