Mathematica On Linux /tmp Vulnerability

2012-04-16T00:00:00
ID PACKETSTORM:111879
Type packetstorm
Reporter Paul Szabo
Modified 2012-04-16T00:00:00

Description

                                        
                                            `"If you're doing anything technical, think Mathematica --..."  
http://www.wolfram.com/products/mathematica/index.html  
  
Mathematica7 on Linux uses the /tmp/MathLink directory in insecure ways.  
Mathematica creates or re-uses an existing /tmp/MathLink directory, and  
overwrites files within and follows symlinks. This type of behaviour is  
"known unsafe" on multi-user machines e.g. University login servers.  
As a classic example of a symlink attack, if an "attacker" uses:  
  
mkdir /tmp/MathLink; ln -s /home/victim/.bashrc /tmp/MathLink/.gshmm  
  
then when the victim runs Mathematica his ~/.bashrc will be clobbered.  
New files are created world-writable, allowing a complete compromise of  
the user account by linking to ~/.bash_logout . (If root ever uses  
Mathematica then the damage is greater.)  
  
Mathematica uses also /tmp/fonts$$.conf in insecure ways.  
  
Workaround: use command-line math instead of pretty interface.  
  
Notified support at wolfram.com on 7 May 2010, was assigned [TS 16194].  
  
Cheers,  
  
Paul Szabo psz at maths.usyd.edu.au http://www.maths.usyd.edu.au/u/psz/  
School of Mathematics and Statistics University of Sydney Australia  
  
  
  
  
Addendum:  
  
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2012 08:28:34 +1000  
From: paul.szabo@sydney.edu.au  
Subject: Mathematica8.0.4 on Linux /tmp/MathLink vulnerability  
  
The problem reported for Mathematica became worse at version 8.0.4,  
present for the command-line interface "math" also.  
  
Cheers,  
  
Paul Szabo psz@maths.usyd.edu.au http://www.maths.usyd.edu.au/u/psz/  
School of Mathematics and Statistics University of Sydney Australia  
  
  
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