Qualys Blog

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GHOST Remote Code Execution Exploit

A demonstration of remote code execution of the GHOST vulnerability, delivered as a standalone Metasploit module, is now available. The module remotely exploits CVE-2015-0235 (a.k.a. GHOST, a heap-based buffer overflow in the GNU C Library’s gethostbyname functions) on x86 and x86_64 GNU/Linux systems that run the Exim mail server.

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The GHOST Vulnerability

GHOST vulnerabilityThe GHOST vulnerability is a serious weakness in the Linux glibc library. It allows attackers to remotely take complete control of the victim system without having any prior knowledge of system credentials. CVE-2015-0235 has been assigned to this issue.

Qualys security researchers discovered this bug and worked closely with Linux distribution vendors. And as a result of that we are releasing this advisory today as a co-ordinated effort, and patches for all distribution are available January 27, 2015.

What is glibc?

The GNU C Library or glibc is an implementation of the standard C library and a core part of the Linux operating system. Without this library a Linux system will not function.

What is the vulnerability?

During a code audit Qualys researchers discovered a buffer overflow in the __nss_hostname_digits_dots() function of glibc. This bug can be triggered both locally and remotely via all the gethostbyname*() functions. Applications have access to the DNS resolver primarily through the gethostbyname*() set of functions. These functions convert a hostname into an IP address.

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