January 31, 2019

Remote Code Execution in apt/apt-get

tl;dr I found a vulnerability in apt that allows a network man-in-the-middle (or a malicious package mirror) to execute arbitrary code as root on a machine installing any package. The bug has been fixed in the latest versions of apt. If you’re worried about being exploited during the update process, you can protect yourself by disabling HTTP redirects while you update. To do that, run:

$ sudo apt update -o Acquire::http::AllowRedirect=false
$ sudo apt upgrade -o Acquire::http::AllowRedirect=false

If your current package mirrors redirect by default (meaning you can’t update apt when using that flag) you’ll need to pick different mirrors or download the package directly. Specific instructions for upgrading on Debian can be found hereUbuntu’s announcement can be found here.

As a proof of concept, below is a video of me exploiting the following Dockerfile:

FROM debian:latest

RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y cowsay

Read more at Max Justicz

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