Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 07:01

Stack Clash flaw opens Linux, BSDs to local exploit Featured


Cloud security provider Qualys has released details of a vulnerability related to memory management in most *NIX-like operating systems.

The vulnerability, called Stack Clash, affects Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD and Solaris, on the i386 and amd64 platforms and can be exploited to corrupt memory and execute arbitrary code.

Qualys said that the vulnerability, as far as the seven exploits it had developed showed, was not exploitable remotely, which means that an attacker would have to already be on a system as an unprivileged user in order to cause mischief.

The company released details of the vulnerability in co-ordination with major Linux and other distributions so that patches could be made available on Monday.

{laodposition sam08}Explaining the nature of the vulnerability, Qualys said that each program used a special memory region called the stack which would increase automatically in size when needed. However if the stack grew too much and gained too much proximity to another memory region, then the program in question could confuse the stack with another memory region.

A potential attacker could exploit this confusion to either overwrite the stack with another memory region or vice versa.

This type of vulnerability is not new, having been exploited in 2005 and 2010. But, Qualys said, though Linux developers had introduced a stack guard-page to prevent such exploits, a stack clash was still possible.

The Qualys researchers said while the primary Stack Clash vulnerability was a single flaw, there were others that were related and could be exploited independently.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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