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The 'grinch' isn't a Linux vulnerability, Red Hat says

Joab Jackson | Dec. 19, 2014
A potential flaw in how Linux handles access rights could give attackers entry, a security firm charges.

Other security experts have also downplayed grinch.

"In some ways, this isn't so much a vulnerability, as more a common overly permissive configuration of many Linux systems," wrote Johannes Ullrich of the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center security advisory site, in a blog post.

Ullrich also noted that grinch is not entirely benign, however: "It could easily be leveraged to escalate privileges beyond the intent of the Polkit configuration."

Andre pointed out that administrators who are managing desktop Linux machines running Polkit should be aware of the potential danger and that they should check what programs Polkit is managing to ensure no malicious activity is going on.

Application developers and Linux distributors should also ensure that they are using the Polkit framework correctly, Andre said.

Even Tyler, the co-author of the original report, seems to admit that grinch is not so severe.

Grinch is a "surface opening stager and by itself nothing much," Bourland wrote, referring to how an attacker would need additional vulnerabilities to use in conjunction with grinch to stage an attack,in an email on the Open Source Security mailing list.

(Lucian Constantin contributed to this report.)

 

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