Subject: NetBSD Security Advisory 2004-004: shmat reference counting bug
To: None <netbsd-announce@NetBSD.org>
From: NetBSD Security-Officer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 02/19/2004 08:37:14
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NetBSD Security Advisory 2004-004
Topic: shmat reference counting bug
Version: NetBSD-current: source prior to February 6th, 2004
NetBSD 1.6.1: affected
NetBSD 1.6: affected
Severity: local privilege escalation
Fixed: NetBSD-current: February 7th, 2004
NetBSD-1.6 branch: February 8th, 2004
(1.6.2 will include the fix)
NetBSD-1.5 branch: This fix is not yet pulled
up. This advisory will be
updated when it has.
Updating to NetBSD 1.6.2 is
A programming error in the shmat(2) system call can result in a shared
memory segment's reference count being erroneously incremented.
This system call is part of the System-V Shared Memory subsystem;
although this is enabled in the default (GENERIC*) kernels, custom
kernels built without "options SYSVSHM" are not affected.
The shmat(2) function maps a shared memory segment, previously created
with the shmget(2) function, into the address space of the calling
The shmat(2) function first increases the reference count on the
underlying vm_object and then attempts to insert the vm_object into
the process address space.
The vulnerability occurs because the shmat(2) function forgets to
decrease the reference count if the vm_map_find function returns
Since the caller of shmat(2) can specify the address at which the
segment should be mapped it is possible to have vm_map_find return
failure and thus end up with stale references.
In the end, an unprivileged user may have write access to an
unreferenced piece of kernel memory, which could later become part of a
Solutions and Workarounds
If you are unable to apply the patch as described below, you may
workaround the problem by removing SYSVSHM from your kernel config
file and rebuilding and reinstalling your kernel.
*** Patching from sources:
Otherwise, the fix for this issue is contained in the one file,
sys/kern/sysv_shm.c. The following table lists the fixed revisions and
dates of this file for each branch:
CVS branch revision date
------------- ----------- ----------------
HEAD 1.74 2004/02/05
netbsd-1-6 22.214.171.124 2004/02/08
The following instructions describe how to upgrade your kernel
binaries by updating your source tree and rebuilding and installing a
new version of the kernel. In these instructions, replace:
BRANCH with the appropriate CVS branch (from the above table)
ARCH with your architecture (from uname -m), and
KERNCONF with the name of your kernel configuration file.
To update from CVS, re-build, and re-install the kernel:
# cd src
# cvs update -d -P -r BRANCH sys/kern/sysv_shm.c
# cd sys/arch/ARCH/conf
# config KERNCONF
# cd ../compile/KERNCONF
# make depend;make
# mv /netbsd /netbsd.old
# cp netbsd /
* Binary Patch:
Binary patches are being provided, in the form of replacement
kernels built with the patches from the GENERIC kernel
configuration. If you use a custom kernel configuration, these
may not be suitable for you.
NOTE: The path below says SA2004-002-kernel intentionally.
The same kernel includes fixes for NetBSD-SA2004-002 and
NetBSD-SA2004-004. If you already updated for 2004-002,
you do not need to perform these steps again.
To apply the binary patch, perform the following steps,
replacing ARCH with the NetBSD architecture you are running
cd / && cp /path/to/ARCH-kernel.gz /
gzip -d ARCH-kernel.gz
The tar file will extract a new copy of:
Back up your old kernel:
mv netbsd netbsd.old
Then either rename:
mv ARCH-kernel netbsd
or link, as per local site policy:
ln ARCH-kernel netbsd
Joost Pol of Pine Digital Security
Christos Zoulas for supplying a fix.
2004-02-18 Initial release
Advisories may be updated as new information becomes available.
The most recent version of this advisory (PGP signed) can be found at
Information about NetBSD and NetBSD security can be found at
http://www.NetBSD.org/ and http://www.NetBSD.org/Security/.
Copyright 2004, The NetBSD Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Redistribution permitted only in full, unmodified form.
$NetBSD: NetBSD-SA2004-004.txt.asc,v 1.2 2004/02/19 03:18:38 david Exp $
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