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Bug 88398 - sys-devel/gdb: default config, potential security problem?
Summary: sys-devel/gdb: default config, potential security problem?
Alias: None
Product: Gentoo Security
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Default Configs (show other bugs)
Hardware: All All
: High normal (vote)
Assignee: Gentoo Security
Depends on:
Reported: 2005-04-08 12:48 UTC by Tavis Ormandy (RETIRED)
Modified: 2005-05-21 02:37 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

See Also:
Package list:
Runtime testing required: ---

gdb-6.3-gdbinit-stat.patch (gdb-6.3-gdbinit-stat.patch,650 bytes, patch)
2005-04-08 13:29 UTC, solar (RETIRED)
Details | Diff
use existing stat() (gdb-6.3-gdbinit-stat.patch,412 bytes, patch)
2005-04-08 13:54 UTC, Tavis Ormandy (RETIRED)
Details | Diff
gdb-6.3-gdbinit-stat.patch (gdb-6.3-gdbinit-stat.patch,430 bytes, patch)
2005-04-08 15:46 UTC, solar (RETIRED)
Details | Diff
gdb-6.3-gdbinit-stat.patch (gdb-6.3-gdbinit-stat.patch,429 bytes, patch)
2005-04-08 16:13 UTC, solar (RETIRED)
Details | Diff

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Description Tavis Ormandy (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 12:48:28 UTC
by default gdb reads .gdbinit from the current working directory, which obviously can contain commands to execute arbitrary commands. A useful feature, but it isnt hard to imagine a method of social engineering an administrator in to compromising his account, eg

user: "help! when i run lynx in /foo it dumps core, please check it out."
admin helpfully runs gdb in /foo and user has silently taken over his account.

or perhaps compromise a colleagues account if they share access to cvs repository, etc, etc.


$ printf "set args 0wned\nexec /bin/echo\nr\n" > /tmp/.gdbinit
$ cd /tmp
$ gdb
Using host libthread_db library "/lib/".

Program exited normally.

I think we should only allow ~/.gdbinit, if the user wants the feature they can simply add "source .gdbinit", perhaps this can be added with some comments explaining the situation to the example gdbinit we distribute.

a few things other things that might improve this if other disagree:

* confirm current user owns the .gdbinit file.
* print lots of warnings that gdb should only be started in trusted directories.
Comment 1 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 13:29:13 UTC
Created attachment 55708 [details, diff]

something like this is what you looking for?
Comment 2 Tavis Ormandy (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 13:39:45 UTC
solar: looks good, should be an improvement, and can still be overridden (to read other users .gdbinit's) if a user requires by adding 'source .gdbinit' to ~/.gdbinit.
Comment 3 Tavis Ormandy (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 13:54:26 UTC
Created attachment 55710 [details, diff]
use existing stat()

save the overhead from another stat, one already exists a little earlier.
Comment 4 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 15:46:28 UTC
Created attachment 55719 [details, diff]

adds check to ensure if our .gdbinit file was in pwd it's not world writeable 
either using existing stat.
Comment 5 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 15:53:02 UTC
note I've not tested that yet. will do in a few mins.
Comment 6 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 16:13:43 UTC
Created attachment 55721 [details, diff]

ok other patch had an extra ) in it.
How about this one?
Comment 7 SpanKY gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 16:32:28 UTC
anyone chatted with upstream gdb maintainers about this ?
Comment 8 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 19:30:54 UTC
I just filed a bug at
but they have a really lame gnats that did not tell me a bug # or anything.  I 
searched the db right after that to see if i could get a bug # or something but 
nothing.... So I reported it, it went somewhere but I've got no clue where 
it's at now. I don't like dealing with lame things more than one time so heres a list of maintainers.

                        Global Maintainers

Jim Blandy            
Kevin Buettner        
Andrew Cagney         
J.T. Conklin          
Fred Fish             
Daniel Jacobowitz     
Mark Kettenis         
Peter Schauer         
Stan Shebs            
Michael Snyder        
Elena Zannoni         
Eli Zaretskii         
Comment 9 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-08 19:45:31 UTC
Ok cool we just got the bug # assigned.

It has the internal identification `gdb/1908'.
The individual assigned to look at your
report is: unassigned. 

>Category:       gdb
>Responsible:    unassigned
>Synopsis:       potential security problem
>Arrival-Date:   Sat Apr 09 02:28:01 UTC 2005
Comment 10 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-09 16:55:27 UTC
gdb also reads ./.gdb_history I however have no idea if this can be sec problem. 
Comment 11 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-09 19:19:06 UTC
So yeah we want to use this patch for our own gdb-6.x?
Comment 12 Tavis Ormandy (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-10 01:25:47 UTC
solar: I had a look at the history file mechanism, It doesnt save history by default, but should you enter set  history save, either in gdb or in your ~/.gdbinit it will happily write onto a symlink, so enabling this feature and starting gdb in an untrusted directory is not a good idea :)

It will read somebody elses .gdb_history, but apart from being able to insert commands into the history buffer (doesnt seem like a great idea, but no obvious attack via this vector).

I think we should 'set history filename ~/.gdb_history' in the gdbinit we distribute with some comments, so that users who enable saving history across sessions can see this option should be set as well.
Comment 13 Sune Kloppenborg Jeppesen (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-23 07:39:07 UTC
solar/taviso any news on this one?
Comment 14 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-04-24 13:04:03 UTC
Fixed in .gdbinit handling in gdb-6.3-r2 and left the history alone as not all 
arches have a default /etc/skel/.gdbinit file.

Current Keywords:
gdb-6.0:  alpha -hppa ia64 
gdb-6.1:  s390 
gdb-6.1.1:  sparc 
gdb-6.2:  ppc 
gdb-6.2.1:  mips 
gdb-6.2.1-r1:  -sparc 
gdb-6.3:  ppc64 hppa amd64 arm x86 
gdb-6.3-r2:  ~arm ~hppa ~x86 ~amd64 ~ppc ~alpha ~sparc ~ppc64 ~mips

Comment 15 Tavis Ormandy (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-05-21 02:37:04 UTC
GLSA 200505-15