Multiple BSD Vendor exec() Ptrace Race Condition Vulnerability

Ptrace is a facility used mostly by debuggers that allows one process to attach to another and monitor/modify its execution state and memory.

Ptrace implements checks to ensure that unprivileged processes do not attach to privileged ones. It has been reported that a race condition exists in some BSD ptrace implementations that may cause these checks to by bypassed.

Due to this vulnerability, an unprivileged process may be able to attach to a privileged process. This may allow local attackers to elevate privileges.

OpenBSD and NetBSD have both confirmed that they are vulnerable. OpenBSD has released kernel patches, while NetBSD has fixed the problem in their CVS tree.


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