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Vulnerability of Linux kernel: denial of service via SG_IO

Synthesis of the vulnerability 

A local attacker can generate a temporary denial of service in libATA.
Impacted software: Debian, Linux, openSUSE, RHEL, ESX, ESXi, VMware Server, vCenter Server, VirtualCenter.
Severity of this computer vulnerability: 1/4.
Creation date: 24/12/2008.
Références of this announce: 474495, CVE-2008-5700, DSA-1787-1, RHSA-2009:0053-01, RHSA-2009:0326-01, RHSA-2009:0331-01, SUSE-SA:2009:003, SUSE-SA:2009:010, VIGILANCE-VUL-8356, VMSA-2009-0016, VMSA-2009-0016.1, VMSA-2009-0016.2, VMSA-2009-0016.3, VMSA-2009-0016.4, VMSA-2009-0016.5.

Description of the vulnerability 

The libATA library manages transfers via IDE, SATA or SCSI.

The SG_IO ioctl sends command to the device. For example (simplified):
  sg_io.cmd_len = sizeof(cmd);
  sg_io.cmdp = (void *)&cmd;
  sg_io.timeout = 5000; /*ms*/
  ioctl(fd, SG_IO, &sg_io);
To use this ioctl, the user must have access rights to /dev/sg*.

The timeout field indicates the duration before resetting the device. Then, the reset operation can last several seconds.

An attacker with an access to /dev/sg* can therefore use a short timeout, leading to a denial of service of several seconds. An attacker with a physical access can also disrupt the cdrom reader to force the timeout to expire, which creates the same effect.
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This cybersecurity weakness impacts software or systems such as Debian, Linux, openSUSE, RHEL, ESX, ESXi, VMware Server, vCenter Server, VirtualCenter.

Our Vigil@nce team determined that the severity of this security vulnerability is low.

The trust level is of type confirmed by the editor, with an origin of physical access.

An attacker with a expert ability can exploit this vulnerability bulletin.

Solutions for this threat 

Linux kernel: version 2.6.28.
Version 2.6.28 is corrected:
  http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/

Linux kernel: version 2.6.27.9.
Version 2.6.27.9 is corrected:
  http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/

VMware ESX, ESXi, VirtualCenter: solution.
Following version is corrected:
VirtualCenter 4.0 Update 1
  http://downloads.vmware.com/download/download.do?downloadGroup=VC40U1
VMware Virtual Center 2.5 Update 6
  http://downloads.vmware.com/download/download.do?downloadGroup=VC250U6
ESXi 4.0 Update 1
  https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/OFFLINE/release-155-20091116-013169/ESXi-4.0.0-update01.zip
ESXi 3.5
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESXe350-201002401-O-SG.zip
ESX 4.0 Update 1
  https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/OFFLINE/release-158-20091118-187517/ESX-4.0.0-update01.zip
  known problems: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1016070
ESX 3.5
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESX350-201002407-SG.zip
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESX350-201002402-SG.zip
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESX350-201002404-SG.zip
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESX350-201003403-SG.zip
ESX 3.0.3
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESX303-201002204-UG.zip
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESX303-201002206-UG.zip
  http://download3.vmware.com/software/vi/ESX303-201002205-UG.zip

Debian 4: new linux-2.6.24 packages.
New packages are available:
  http://security.debian.org/pool/updates/main/l/linux-2.6.24/linux-*-2.6.24_2.6.24-6~etchnhalf.8etch1_*.deb

openSUSE 11.0: new kernel packages.
New packages are available:
  http://download.opensuse.org/pub/opensuse/update/11.0/rpm/i586/kernel-*-2.6.25.20-0.1.i586.rpm

openSUSE 11.1: new kernel packages.
New packages are available:
  http://download.opensuse.org/update/11.1/rpm/i586/kernel-*-2.6.27.19-3.2.1.i586.rpm

RHEL 4: new kernel packages.
New packages are available:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 4: kernel-2.6.9-78.0.17.EL

RHEL 5: new kernel packages.
New packages are available:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 5: kernel-2.6.18-128.1.6.el5

RHEL 5: new kernel-rt packages.
New packages are available:
MRG Realtime for RHEL 5 Server:
  kernel-rt-2.6.24.7-101.el5rt
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