SystemTap is an instrumentation system for systems running the Linux kernel, version 2.6. Developers can write scripts to collect data on the operation of the system. staprun, the SystemTap runtime tool, is used for managing SystemTap kernel modules (for example, loading them).
It was discovered that staprun did not properly sanitize the environment before executing the modprobe command to load an additional kernel module. A local, unprivileged user could use this flaw to escalate their privileges. (CVE-2010-4170)
Note: On Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, an attacker must be a member of the stapusr group to exploit this issue. Also note that, after installing this update, users already in the stapdev group must be added to the stapusr group in order to be able to run the staprun tool.
Red Hat would like to thank Tavis Ormandy for reporting this issue.
SystemTap users should upgrade to these updated packages, which contain a backported patch to correct this issue.