CVE-2014-1226 - s3dvt - root shell

Authors:Hector Marco & Ismael Ripoll
BUG:Lack of checking setuid() return code
Dates: 25 March 2014 - Public disclosure


The s3dvt developers forgot to review all the code. There is still a vulnerable function as in the previous CVE-2013-6876 - s3dvt_0.2.2 root shell vulnerability.

The bug as previous one is caused by not checking the return values of setuid() and getuid() calls. The process must not continue its normal execution when any of these calls fail (return an error) to drop privileges.


The drop privileges in s3dvt has the purpose to prevent to execute the bash with root privileges. In the cases where the application is installed with set bit setuid a non-privileged user could obtain a root shell.

Because the bash setuid() bug this bug can be exploited successfully. See discussion section.

Vulnerable packages

s3dvt package 0.2.2 is vulnerable. From the first commit on January 2006 to the current 0.2.2 (released May 2011) are also affected. At the date of Jun 1, 2014 the last commit of the s3dvt (1e9c9c53fa192cbf4f79d724b5e6c76374516968) version is still vulnerable and exploitable.

The bug

The bug is still present because during the discussion with the authors we always were referring to a concrete function for simplicity but the application had two vulnerable functions with the bug. They decide stop reply ours emails and only fix one function. See discussion.

The bug appears because the return value of the setuid() call is not checked. When the setuid() fails, the application continue executing (does not terminate) and the following code is executed with the original privileges. In this case it is possible to obtain a root shell.

The bug appears in apps/s3dvt/main.c file, on lines 231 and 232:

static int pipe_init_terminal(void)
        int uid = 0, gid = 0;
        const char *exe = "/bin/bash";
        const char *args = "-i";
        uid = getuid();
        gid = getgid();
        pid = fork();
        if (pid == 0) { /*  the child */
                char tmpstr[1024];
                execl(exe, exe, args, NULL);


The strategy to exploit this kind of bugs consists in creating as many processes as the target user is allowed to make (which is given by RLIMIT_NPROC), and then the next attempt to drop privileges will fail, letting the process alive and with the original privileges.


We have created a non official patch for s3dvt 0.2.2:
diff --git apps/s3dvt/main.c apps/s3dvt/main.c
index 0842e22..9fd6d8e 100644
--- apps/s3dvt/main.c
+++ apps/s3dvt/main.c
@@ -228,8 +230,10 @@ static int pipe_init_terminal(void)
   pid = fork();
   if (pid == 0) { /*  the child */
      char tmpstr[1024];
-     setuid(uid);
-     setgid(gid);
+      if ( (setgid(getgid()) != 0) || (setuid(getuid()) != 0) ){
+         printf(stderr, "Failed to drop privileges\n");
+         exit(-1);
+      }
      if (setsid() < 0)
         printf("ERROR (setsid)\n");
      /*     tcflush(curpty, TCIOFLUSH); */
[ s3dvt-fix-setuid-pipe-terminal.patch ]

Patching s3dvt-0.2.2:
$ wget
$ cd s3dvt-0.2.2
$ patch -p0 < ../s3dvt-fix-setuid-pipe-terminal.patch


This bug can be exploited because the there is a similar bug in the code of the bash. And so, an attacker can bypass/exploit both bugs to raise privileges.

See discussion section in CVE-2013-6876 - s3dvt_0.2.2 root shell.

Hector Marco -