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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   backupsh Vendors:   Santa Cruz Operations
SCO OpenServer Buffer Overflow in authsh and backupsh Lets Local Users Gain Elevated Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1015099
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2005-2926   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Oct 25 2005
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via local system, Root access via local system, User access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  

Description:   iDEFENSE reported a vulnerability in SCO OpenServer in authsh and backupsh. A local user can gain root privileges on the target system.

The authsh and backupsh utilities do not properly validate user-supplied input in the HOME environment variable. A local user can set a specially crafted value to trigger a stack overflow and execute arbitrary code.

With authsh, the code will run with 'auth' group privileges. These privileges allow a local user to obtain root privileges by modifying authentication data.

With backupsh, the code will run with 'backup' group privileges.

The vendor was notified on September 8, 2005.

iDEFENSE Labs discovered this vulnerability.

The original advisories are available at:

Impact:   A local user can execute arbitrary code to potentially gain root privileges on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued the following fixes for OpenServer 5.0.7:

Location of Fixed Binaries


MD5 (VOL.000.000) = ebcf85edb0e7c8c0a3af4cec65a27ed7

Upgrade the affected binaries with the following sequence:

1) Download the VOL* files to a directory

2) Run the custom command, specify an install from media
images, and specify the directory as the location of the

The vendor's advisory is available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  UNIX (Open UNIX-SCO)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDEFENSE Security Advisory 10.24.05: SCO Openserver authsh 'Home'

SCO Openserver authsh 'Home' Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 10.24.05
October 24, 2005


SCO OpenServer is a UNIX-like operating system for x86 platforms.


Local exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability in The SCO Group 
Inc.'s Openserver operating system could allow an attacker to gain root 

The authsh utility is a standard binary distributed with the Openserver 
platform. The vulnerability specifically exists because of a lack of 
bounds checking on the value given to the "HOME" environment variable. 
Local attackers can supply a specially crafted string to overflow a 
stack buffer and execute arbitrary code with group auth privileges.


Successful exploitation of this vulnerability will result in execution 
of arbitrary code with permissions of the running process. The binary is

setgid auth by default and can be used by attackers with a local account

to gain root privileges, as the group auth has write access to system 
authentication information. An attacker would only need to modify the 
system passwd file to grant an account they control superuser 


iDEFENSE has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in SCO 
Openserver 5.0.7. It is suspected that earlier versions are also 


As a workaround solution, remove the setgid bit from the authsh binary 
until a vendor patch can be applied. 

  # chmod -g /opt/K/SCO/Unix/5.0.7Hw/usr/lib/sysadm/authsh


The vendor has released the following advisory for this issue:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2005-2926 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


09/08/2005  Initial vendor notification
09/09/2005  Initial vendor response
10/24/2005  Public disclosure


iDEFENSE Labs is credited with the discovery of this vulnerability.

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Copyright (c) 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
email for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.

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