ctags(1) command execution vulnerability

From: Roman Bogorodskiy (bogorodskiy_at_inbox.ru)
Date: 05/04/04

  • Next message: Peter Pentchev: "Re: ctags(1) command execution vulnerability"
    Date: Tue, 4 May 2004 09:49:09 +0400
    To: freebsd-security@freebsd.org
    "From: Roman Bogordskiy <bogorodskiy@inbox.ru>"


            ctags(1) uses external application sort(1) for sorting the tags file.
    It calls it via system(3) function.

    Look at the /usr/src/usr.bin/ctags/ctags.c file, there are such lines

    if (uflag) {
            (void)asprintf(&cmd, "sort -o %s %s",
                outfile, outfile);
            if (cmd == NULL)
                    err(1, "out of space");
            cmd = NULL;

    This code will be executed when "-u" arg was given. So, if we'll execute
    ctags in a such way:

    ctags -u -f ';echo hi' *.c

    we get the following:

    Syntax error: ";" unexpected
    sort: option requires an argument -- o
    Try `sort --help' for more information.

    We can put any command instead of 'echo hi' and it would be executed
    (for two times).

    I understand that ctags(1) is not a suid application and this
    vulnerability probably could not be exploited. Never the less, this is a
    bad behavior for any kind of program.


    --- usr.bin/ctags/ctags.c.orig Tue May 4 09:23:30 2004
    +++ usr.bin/ctags/ctags.c Tue May 4 09:25:48 2004
    @@ -166,7 +166,7 @@
                             if (uflag) {
                                     for (step = 0; step < argc; step++) {
    - "mv %s OTAGS; fgrep -v '\t%s\t' OTAGS >%s; rm OTAGS",
    + "mv '%s' OTAGS; fgrep -v '\t%s\t' OTAGS >'%s'; rm OTAGS",
                                                 outfile, argv[step], outfile);
                                             if (cmd == NULL)
                                                     err(1, "out of space");
    @@ -181,7 +181,7 @@
                             if (uflag) {
    - (void)asprintf(&cmd, "sort -o %s %s",
    + (void)asprintf(&cmd, "sort -o '%s' '%s'",
                                         outfile, outfile);
                                     if (cmd == NULL)
                                             err(1, "out of space");

    -Roman Bogorodskiy


  • Next message: Peter Pentchev: "Re: ctags(1) command execution vulnerability"

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