Debian Security Advisory

DSA-403-1 kernel-image-2.4.18-1-alpha, kernel-image-2.4.18-1-i386, kernel-source-2.4.18 -- local root exploit

Date Reported:
01 Dec 2003
Affected Packages:
Security database references:
In the Bugtraq database (at SecurityFocus): BugTraq ID 9138.
In Mitre's CVE dictionary: CVE-2003-0961.
More information:

Recently multiple servers of the Debian project were compromised using a Debian developers account and an unknown root exploit. Forensics revealed a burneye encrypted exploit. Robert van der Meulen managed to decrypt the binary which revealed a kernel exploit. Study of the exploit by the Red Hat and SuSE kernel and security teams quickly revealed that the exploit used an integer overflow in the brk system call. Using this bug it is possible for a userland program to trick the kernel into giving access to the full kernel address space. This problem was found in September by Andrew Morton, but unfortunately that was too late for the 2.4.22 kernel release.

This bug has been fixed in kernel version 2.4.23 for the 2.4 tree and 2.6.0-test6 kernel tree. For Debian it has been fixed in version 2.4.18-14 of the kernel source packages, version 2.4.18-12 of the i386 kernel images and version 2.4.18-11 of the alpha kernel images.

Fixed in:

Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (stable)

Architecture-independent component:
Intel IA-32:

MD5 checksums of the listed files are available in the original advisory.