Mathematica8.0.4 on Linux /tmp/MathLink vulnerability Apr 14 2012 10:28PM
paul szabo sydney edu au (1 replies)
The problem reported for Mathematica became worse at version 8.0.4,
present for the command-line interface "math" also.


Paul Szabo psz (at) maths.usyd.edu (dot) au [email concealed] http://www.maths.usyd.edu.au/u/psz/
School of Mathematics and Statistics University of Sydney Australia



Paraphrasing what I wrote on 14 May 2010:

"Mathematica is the world's ultimate application for computations..."

Mathematica on Linux uses the /tmp/MathLink directory in insecure ways.
Mathematica creates or re-uses an existing /tmp/MathLink directory, and
overwrites files within and follows symlinks. This type of behaviour is
"known unsafe" on multi-user machines e.g. University login servers.
As a classic example of a symlink attack, if an "attacker" uses:

mkdir /tmp/MathLink; ln -s /home/victim/.bashrc /tmp/MathLink/.shmsrec

then when the victim runs Mathematica his ~/.bashrc will be clobbered.
New files are created world-writable, allowing a complete compromise of
the user account by linking to ~/.bash_logout . (If root ever uses
Mathematica then the damage is greater.)

There is no workaround: the command-line math interface is also unsafe.

Notified support (at) wolfram (dot) com [email concealed] on 7 May 2010, was assigned [TS 16194].

[ reply ]
Re: Mathematica8.0.4 on Linux /tmp/MathLink vulnerability Apr 16 2012 06:54PM
Vikram Dhillon (dhillonv10 gmail com) (1 replies)
Re: Mathematica8.0.4 on Linux /tmp/MathLink vulnerability Apr 16 2012 08:51PM
paul szabo sydney edu au


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