ASA-0001: OpenBSD chpass/chfn/chsh file content leak Feb 03 2003 09:58AM
Marc Bevand (bevand_m epita fr)
"After" Security Advisory

Title: OpenBSD chpass/chfn/chsh file content leak
Affects: chpass/chfn/chsh from OpenBSD (from 2.0 to 3.2)
Advisory ID: ASA-0001
Release Date: 2003-02-03
Author: Marc Bevand <bevand_m (at) epita.fr>
URL: http://www.epita.fr/~bevand_m/asa/asa-0001

--oOo-- 0. Table of Contents

0. Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Problem
3. Solution
4. Conclusion
5. References
6. Attached files

--oOo-- 1. Introduction

OpenBSD [1] provides a setuid-root tool, chpass(1) (or chfn, or
chsh, which are hard links to the same binary file), that allows
editing of the user database information. This tool can be exploited
to partially display the content of any file. But to make this
happen, the content of the file has to match a very particular
format, making the vulnerability practically useless in real-world

--oOo-- 2. Problem

chpass writes user database information in a temporary file, and
supplies it to an editor for changes. While the editor is running, the
user can suspend it (^Z), replace the temporary file by a hard link to
any file, resume the editor in the foreground, quit it without saving
the file, and let chpass process the file for further operations.

At this point, chpass will open the file (with root permissions
since it is setuid-root), read it line by line and for each of them:
- if it is longer than 2048 bytes, abort the reading
- if it begins by '#', ignore it
- else check the validity of the line
Many conditions have to be respected to make a line valid, I will not
list them here, they are too many. If the line is valid, chpass
processes the next one. Else, if it is invalid and if it begins by
"shell:" (whatever the case is) and if the rest of the line contains
only printable characters (according to isprint(3)) and if none of
them is ':' or ' ', the rest of the line is displayed in an error
message. Here is a concrete example, create a file as root:

# echo "shell: secret_data" >/tmp/sec
# chmod 600 /tmp/sec

Then run chpass under ordinary user privileges (lets say that the
temporary filename you are editing is ``/var/tmp/pw.Loi22925''):

$ chpass # ^Z in the editor
[1]+ Stopped chpass
$ rm /var/tmp/pw.Loi22925
$ ln /tmp/sec /var/tmp/pw.Loi22925
$ fg # then quit the editor
chpass: secret_data: non-standard shell
The string "secret_data" is contained in a file owned by root and
readable only by root, but is displayed in this error message.

FreeBSD and NetBSD implementations of chpass have been checked. They
are not vulnerable since the temporary file is created in the
directory ``/etc''.

--oOo-- 3. Solution

OpenBSD maintainers have been contacted on 2003-02-02 about this
issue. The same day, a fix has been committed to the cvs (see the
attached file ``asa-0001.openbsd-chpass.cvs-diff'').

The new code solves the problem by requiring that the link count
be one.

--oOo-- 4. Conclusion

A fix has been applied to OpenBSD-current. The attached file
``asa-0001.openbsd-chpass.cvs-diff'' contains the related cvs diff.

--oOo-- 5. References

[1] OpenBSD

--oOo-- 6. Attached files

The following file is also available at:

---8<-------------- asa-0001.openbsd-chpass.cvs-diff -----------------
Index: edit.c
RCS file: /cvs/src/usr.bin/chpass/edit.c,v
retrieving revision 1.23
diff -u -r1.23 edit.c
--- edit.c 31 Jul 2002 22:08:42 -0000 1.23
+++ edit.c 2 Feb 2003 18:34:02 -0000
@@ -48,6 +48,7 @@
#include <ctype.h>
#include <err.h>
#include <errno.h>
+#include <fcntl.h>
#include <paths.h>
#include <pwd.h>
#include <stdio.h>
@@ -152,12 +153,14 @@
char *p, *q;
ENTRY *ep;
FILE *fp;
+ int fd;

- if (!(fp = fopen(tempname, "r")))
+ if ((fd = open(tempname, O_RDONLY|O_NOFOLLOW)) == -1 ||
+ (fp = fdopen(fd, "r")) == NULL)
pw_error(tempname, 1, 1);
- if (fstat(fileno(fp), &sb))
+ if (fstat(fd, &sb))
pw_error(tempname, 1, 1);
- if (sb.st_size == 0) {
+ if (sb.st_size == 0 || sb.st_nlink != 1) {
warnx("corrupted temporary file");
goto bad;

---8<-------------- asa-0001.openbsd-chpass.cvs-diff -----------------

Marc Bevand http://www.epita.fr/~bevand_m
Computer Science School EPITA - System, Network and Security Dept.

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