Debian attacker may have used new exploit

Debian attacker may have used new exploit

  • Puky  Male
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Matthew Broersma
November 28, 2003, 15:05 GMT

An as-yet-unknown security hole allowed the recent hack attack on the Debian GNU/Linux operating system project

An as-yet-unknown security exploit in Linux may have been responsible for a recent compromise of's servers, according to a system administrator with the Debian operating system project.

Initial investigations of the security breach, which occurred on 19 November, indicate that the attacker was able to gain full control of Debian servers after logging on via unprivileged accounts, known as privilege escalation, according to James Troup, part of the team handling Debian's distribution.

"I believe that there was an as-yet-unknown local root exploit used to go from having local unprivileged access to having root," Troup wrote in an email to a Debian mailing list on Friday. "There is [I believe] an unknown local root exploit in the wild."

The exploit was carried out on Debian software running on Intel-based hardware, while a system using Sun hardware was not affected, leading some to guess that Sun software is not affected by the possible exploit.

The attacker initially logged onto an unprivileged account on the server, using a stolen password, then attained full administrative -- or "root" -- access, and installed a hacker toolkit called Suckit, according to Troup. A similar technique was used on several other servers.

The compromised servers were all running recent versions of the Linux core, and had almost all security updates installed, lending weight to the argument that the attacker used an exploit that hasn't yet been discovered and patched.

Administrators detected the intrusion because of a glitch in the Suckit code, which caused anomalies in the kernels of compromised machines, Troup said.

Because investigators don't know exactly how the attacker was able to gain control of the Debian servers, the Debian project was forced to lock all user accounts, and is still unable to unlock the accounts. "Since we... knew we had compromised accounts and sniffers on our hands we had to assume that that an unknown number of accounts were now compromised," Troup wrote.

He said administrators are currently restoring the Debian machines one by one, while looking to determine how the attacker escalated account privileges.

"Obviously we're looking at hardening our boxes and tightening up our procedures to try and stop this from happening again," Troup wrote.

Information on securing Debian machines in the wake of the compromise can be found on developer site, Troup said.

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  • AxeZ 
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Puky ::Administrators detected the intrusion because of a glitch in the Suckit code, which caused anomalies in the kernels of compromised machines, Troup said.

Damn, koje legende...Smile

Evo nesto malo o Suckit-u..Smile
Probacu da nadjem koji je exploit koriscen.

  • AxeZ 
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Elem rupa je ispravljena u 2.4.23 kernelu tako da Vam ne moram govoriti sta da radite!!!!!!

Serious Linux Security Flaw Found

Vulnerability is blamed for a recent high-profile attack.

Robert McMillan, IDG News Service
Tuesday, December 02, 2003

A serious vulnerability in the Linux 2.4 kernel has been discovered. The flaw allows users on a Linux machine to gain unlimited access privileges, according to a security advisory posted by developers of the noncommercial Debian Linux distribution.

The bug affects versions of the Linux kernel prior to 2.4.23, and was the method used during a recent attack on Debian's servers, according to the advisory. In that attack four Linux servers that hosted Debian's bug tracking system, mailing lists, and various Web pages were compromised.

The vulnerability can only be exploited by someone who has already been given a user account on the Linux machine, and does not affect users of every Linux system, said Linux creator Linus Torvalds in an e-mail interview.

"It's a local-only compromise that you can't trigger from the outside," he said. "To most people, it would thus become serious only after you had some account hacked into--the bug then allows elevation of privileges."

Patching the Problem

The bug does not only affect Debian users, however. Any Linux user running a version of the kernel prior to 2.4.23 should contact their distribution provider to see whether a patch for the exploit has been made available, Torvalds said.

The problem was discovered by Linux kernel developer Andrew Morton in September, and was fixed in the 2.4.23 version of the kernel. Linux distributors had been working to coordinate a release of a fix for the problem, said Dave Wreski, chief executive officer with Guardian Digital, the vendor of a secure Linux distribution.

"What all the hoopla is about is that Debian somehow let this patch that's been available for a month or two slip and got bitten by it," said Wreski.

As of Monday, patches that corrected the kernel bug had been issued for a number of Linux distributions, including Red Hat, Debian, and Mandrake Linux.,aid,113700,00.asp

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