December 2, 2003

Kernel Exploit Cause Of Debian Compromise

The cause of the recent Debian Project server compromise has been published by the Debian security team: 'Forensics revealed a burneye
encrypted exploit. Robert van der Meulen managed to decrypt the binary which revealed a kernel exploit. Study of the exploit by the RedHat and SuSE
kernel and security teams quickly revealed that the exploit used an integer overflow in the brk system call. Using this bug it is possible for a
userland program to trick the kernel into giving access to the full kernel address space'. This issue has been fixed in 2.4.23. Thus, the Linux kernel
compromise was not Debian specific.



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