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Category:   OS (UNIX)  >   IBM AIX Vendors:   IBM
IBM AIX Input Validation Flaw in iostat Command Lets Local Users Gain Root Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1020085
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2008-2515   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  Jun 3 2008
Original Entry Date:  May 22 2008
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via local system, Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 5.2, 5.3, 6.1
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in AIX in the iostat command. A local user can obtain root privileges on the target system.

A local user can invoke the 'usr/bin/iostat' command with a specially crafted environment variable value to execute arbitrary commands on the target system with root privileges.

Impact:   A local user can obtain root privileges on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued the following APAR:

5.2.0 IZ20635

The vendor plans to issue the following APARs on June 20, 2008:

5.3.0 IZ22350
5.3.7 IZ22351
5.3.8 IZ21506
6.1.0 IZ22349

Efixes are available at:

The vendor's advisories are available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Input validation error
Underlying OS:  

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Date:  Wed, 21 May 2008 20:08:23 -0400
Subject:  IBM AIX

Hash: SHA1


First Issued: Wed May 21 11:20:56 CDT 2008
                           VULNERABILITY SUMMARY

VULNERABILITY:      AIX iostat environment variable error

PLATFORMS:          AIX 5.2, 5.3, 6.1

SOLUTION:           Apply the fix or workaround as described below.

THREAT:             A local attacker may execute arbitrary code.

CVE Number:         n/a

Reboot required?    NO
Workarounds?        YES
Protected by FPM?   YES (high, medium, or low)
Protected by SED?   NO
                           DETAILED INFORMATION


    The iostat command contains an environment variable handling
    error.  A local attacker may exploit this error to execute
    arbitrary code with root privileges because the command is setuid

    The following files are vulnerable:



    To determine if your system is vulnerable, execute the following

    lslpp -L bos.acct

    The following fileset levels are vulnerable:

    AIX Fileset      Lower Level    Upper Level


    A. APARS

        IBM has assigned the following APARs to this problem:

        AIX Level           APAR number        Availability
        5.2.0               IZ20635            Now
        5.3.0               IZ22350            6/20/2008
        5.3.7               IZ22351            6/20/2008
        5.3.8               IZ21506            6/20/2008
        6.1.0               IZ22349            6/20/2008

        Subscribe to the APARs here:

        By subscribing, you will receive periodic email alerting you
        to the status of the APAR, and a link to download the fix once
        it becomes available.

    B. FIXES

        Fixes are available.  The fixes can be downloaded from:

        The links above are to a tar file containing this signed
        advisory, fix packages, and PGP signatures for each package.
        The fixes below include prerequisite checking. This will
        enforce the correct mapping between the fixes and AIX
        Technology Levels.

        AIX Level          Fix (*.U) and Interim Fix (*.Z)
        5.2.0 TL8          IZ20635_08.080514.epkg.Z
        5.2.0 TL9          IZ20635_09.080514.epkg.Z
        5.2.0 TL10         IZ20635_10.080514.epkg.Z
        5.3.0 TL5          IZ22350_05.080514.epkg.Z
        5.3.0 TL6          IZ22350_06.080514.epkg.Z
        5.3.7              IZ22351_07.080514.epkg.Z
        5.3.8              IZ21506_08.080514.epkg.Z
        6.1.0              IZ22349_00.080514.epkg.Z

        To extract the fixes from the tar file:

        tar xvf iostat_fix.tar
        cd iostat_fix

        Verify you have retrieved the fixes intact:

        The checksums below were generated using the "sum", "cksum",
        "csum -h MD5" (md5sum), and "csum -h SHA1" (sha1sum) commands
        and are as follows:

        sum         filename
        50066    21 IZ20635_08.080514.epkg.Z
        36104    21 IZ20635_09.080514.epkg.Z
        62211    21 IZ20635_10.080514.epkg.Z
        00806    47 IZ21506_08.080514.epkg.Z
        58721    84 IZ22349_00.080514.epkg.Z
        35311    43 IZ22350_05.080514.epkg.Z
        51367    44 IZ22350_06.080514.epkg.Z
        34354    47 IZ22351_07.080514.epkg.Z

        cksum             filename
        4243908138 21321 IZ20635_08.080514.epkg.Z
        1977515682 21397 IZ20635_09.080514.epkg.Z
        3364525726 21372 IZ20635_10.080514.epkg.Z
        294568034  47109 IZ21506_08.080514.epkg.Z
        1353517907 85731 IZ22349_00.080514.epkg.Z
        784404659  43886 IZ22350_05.080514.epkg.Z
        2620297401 44441 IZ22350_06.080514.epkg.Z
        2078653751 47141 IZ22351_07.080514.epkg.Z

        csum -h MD5 (md5sum)              filename
        a34baf6d059e2cb5d4bd42576b428e5a  IZ20635_08.080514.epkg.Z
        ca38fa1ded9ee91d10c03c0323bc0291  IZ20635_09.080514.epkg.Z
        0a5d2df96aad21bc8fb89a8c2245121d  IZ20635_10.080514.epkg.Z
        aa2dc5cdd673a7d4d771ef2deda0f35b  IZ21506_08.080514.epkg.Z
        32d7c022d750ec0a02381936b4a40c6d  IZ22349_00.080514.epkg.Z
        9a1950fbdf6dce8a447213e1c27fb490  IZ22350_05.080514.epkg.Z
        c935b8406819fff19b36eda177df6e94  IZ22350_06.080514.epkg.Z
        6cce1445a7b479dece218c05a09ee0f0  IZ22351_07.080514.epkg.Z

        csum -h SHA1 (sha1sum)                    filename
        88caf0c79cc56f95b44e7584ed7a62c522e96fa9  IZ20635_08.080514.epkg.Z
        4011d191a10489a42e43648abc06b8ab7eca8154  IZ20635_09.080514.epkg.Z
        5b1dcdc053162fbbf6d3503f835b19879fe419fe  IZ20635_10.080514.epkg.Z
        10b39d745f113bd9407045c1cd9184aef04c485c  IZ21506_08.080514.epkg.Z
        204fab6105119ec5776d8eab5bb417c380974505  IZ22349_00.080514.epkg.Z
        d204a9a1f6a9095b17b84501a15350043753813c  IZ22350_05.080514.epkg.Z
        e39c50e85a81017b0622b0772e23c00e6424ca0c  IZ22350_06.080514.epkg.Z
        d8bd2529daecc0204de01f13bc88a8fe391fd018  IZ22351_07.080514.epkg.Z

        To verify the sums, use the text of this advisory as input to
        csum, md5sum, or sha1sum. For example:

        csum -h SHA1 -i Advisory.asc
        md5sum -c Advisory.asc
        sha1sum -c Advisory.asc

        These sums should match exactly. The PGP signatures in the tar
        file and on this advisory can also be used to verify the
        integrity of the fixes.  If the sums or signatures cannot be
        confirmed, contact IBM AIX Security at and describe the discrepancy.


        IMPORTANT: If possible, it is recommended that a mksysb backup
        of the system be created.  Verify it is both bootable and
        readable before proceeding.

        To preview a fix installation:

        installp -a -d fix_name -p all  # where fix_name is the name of the
                                        # fix package being previewed.
        To install a fix package:

        installp -a -d fix_name -X all  # where fix_name is the name of the  
                                        # fix package being installed.

        Interim fixes have had limited functional and regression
        testing but not the full regression testing that takes place
        for Service Packs; thus, IBM does not warrant the fully
        correct functionality of an interim fix.

        Interim fix management documentation can be found at:

        To preview an interim fix installation:

        emgr -e ipkg_name -p         # where ipkg_name is the name of the  
                                     # interim fix package being previewed.

        To install an interim fix package:

        emgr -e ipkg_name -X         # where ipkg_name is the name of the  
                                     # interim fix package being installed.


    There are two workarounds available.

    A. OPTION 1

        Change the permissions of these commands to remove the setuid
        bit using the following commands:

        chmod 500 /usr/bin/iostat

        NOTE: chmod will disable functionality of these commands for
        all users except root.

    B. OPTION 2 (AIX 6.1, AIX 5.3 TL6 and TL7)

        Use the File Permissions Manager (fpm) command to manage
        setuid and setgid programs.

        fpm documentation can be found in the AIX 6 Security Redbook

        An fpm level of high, medium, or low will remove the setuid
        bit from the affected commands.  For example:

        fpm -l high -p    # to preview changes
        fpm -l high       # to execute changes

        NOTE: Please review the documentation before execution.  fpm
        will disable functionality of multiple commands for all users
        except root.


    AIX security fixes can be downloaded from:

    AIX fixes can be downloaded from:

    NOTE: Affected customers are urged to upgrade to the latest
    applicable Technology Level and Service Pack.


    If you would like to receive AIX Security Advisories via email,
    please visit:
    Comments regarding the content of this announcement can be
    directed to:

    To request the PGP public key that can be used to communicate
    securely with the AIX Security Team you can either:

        A. Send an email with "get key" in the subject line to:


        B. Download the key from a PGP Public Key Server. The key ID is:


    Please contact your local IBM AIX support center for any

    eServer is a trademark of International Business Machines
    Corporation.  IBM, AIX and pSeries are registered trademarks of
    International Business Machines Corporation.  All other trademarks
    are property of their respective holders.


    IBM discovered and fixed this vulnerability as part of its
    commitment to secure the AIX operating system.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (AIX)


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