GNU glibc FORTIFY_SOURCE Information Exposure

2010-10-14 / 2010-10-15
Credit: Dan Rosenberg
Risk: Medium
Local: No
Remote: Yes
CWE: CWE-200

CVSS Base Score: 5/10
Impact Subscore: 2.9/10
Exploitability Subscore: 10/10
Exploit range: Remote
Attack complexity: Low
Authentication: No required
Confidentiality impact: Partial
Integrity impact: None
Availability impact: None

I wanted to share a neat little trick I discovered while playing with gcc's FORTIFY_SOURCE feature. For those who don't know, this feature attempts to prevent exploitation of a subset of buffer overflows by inserting a set of checks at compile-time, including stack canaries for some functions. It's enabled by default in many cases. In particular, when FORTIFY_SOURCE detects an overflow, it aborts execution and prints an error message that might look similar to the following: *** stack smashing detected ***: ./strcpy terminated ======= Backtrace: ========= /lib/[0x502b30] /lib/[0x502af0] ./strcpy[0x80484d5] [0x41414141] ======= Memory map: ======== ... Aborted Notice that this error message contains a reference to the application's name, which is obtained by simply relying on argv[0]. Assuming the application was aborted because of a controllable stack-based buffer overflow, in some cases an attacker may be able to continue overflowing past the vulnerable buffer, overwriting the argv[0] pointer, causing the error message to print arbitrary memory addresses, as in the following contrived example: $ ./strcpy `perl -e 'print "\xa0\x85\x04\x08"x80'` *** stack smashing detected ***: THIS IS A SECRET terminated ======= Backtrace: ========= /lib/[0x1f3b30] /lib/[0x1f3af0] THIS IS A SECRET[0x80484d5] THIS IS A SECRET[0x80485a0] ======= Memory map: ======== ... Aborted If an attacker ever stumbles upon a setuid application with an overflow that's caught by FORTIFY_SOURCE, this may be used to read the application's address space (which may contain sensitive information), even if code execution is mitigated. Because it relies on the existence of another vulnerability, I wouldn't consider this a serious issue by any means, but it's probably something that's worth fixing eventually.


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