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Category:   OS (UNIX)  >   Ptrace Vendors:   Santa Cruz Operations
SCO UnixWare ptrace Lets Local Users Inject Code into setuid Processes to Obtain Elevated Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1015676
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2005-2934   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Feb 24 2006
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via local system, Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 7.1.3, 7.1.4
Description:   iDEFENSE reported a vulnerability in SCO UnixWare in ptrace. A local user can obtain elevated privileges on the target system.

The ptrace() system call does not properly check the permissions of processes before attaching to them. A local user can invoke ptrace to attach to a process with set user id (setuid) root user privileges. Then, the user can inject arbitrary data into the process to execute arbitrary code with root privileges.

The vendor was notified on September 15, 2005.

The original advisory is available at:

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

UnixWare 7.1.3

Location of Fixed Binaries


a31512eee4940c6ba048a1b1878ac4fc p533176.713.image

Installing Fixed Binaries

Upgrade the affected binaries with the following sequence:

Download p533176.713.image to the /var/spool/pkg directory

# pkgadd -d /var/spool/pkg/p533176.713.image

UnixWare 7.1.4

Location of Fixed Binaries


1b8fa986357036a8be043b642cc47e56 p533176.714.image

Installing Fixed Binaries

Upgrade the affected binaries with the following sequence:

Download p533176.714.image to the /var/spool/pkg directory

# pkgadd -d /var/spool/pkg/p533176.714.image

The vendor's advisory is available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDefense Security Advisory 02.24.06: SCO Unixware Setuid ptrace Local

SCO Unixware Setuid ptrace Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability

iDefense Security Advisory 02.24.06
February 24, 2006


SCO Unixware is a Unix operating system that runs on many OEM platforms.

More information about the product is available from:


Local exploitation of an access validation error in SCO Unixware allows 
attackers to gain root privileges.

The vulnerability specifically exists due to a failure to check 
permissions on traced executables. The ptrace() system call provides an 
interface for debugging other processes on the system. SCO Unixware's 
implementation of the ptrace system call fails to check for setuid 
permissions on binaries before attaching to the process. This results 
in the complete control of memory and execution for the traced process 
with root privileges. Attackers can inject data into the running setuid 
process and execute arbitrary code with root permissions.


Exploitation of this vulnerability is trivial. Simply placing shellcode 
in the environment and changing the instruction pointer via ptrace() is 
enough to elevate privileges.

iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in SCO 
Unixware versions 7.1.3 and 7.1.4. All previous versions of SCO Unixware
are suspected to be vulnerable.


It is not possible to reduce the impact of this vulnerability other 
than to restrict access to the affected systems.


The vendor has released the following advisory to address this issue:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-2934 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


09/15/2005  Initial vendor notification
10/13/2005  Initial vendor response
02/24/2006  Public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright (c) 2006 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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