|Public release ||2015-06-10 13:10|
|Updated ||2015-06-10 13:10|
|Title ||Heap overflow in QEMU PCNET controller, allowing guest->host escape|
Filesadvisory-135.txt (signed advisory file)
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Xen Security Advisory CVE-2015-3209 / XSA-135
Heap overflow in QEMU PCNET controller, allowing guest->host escape
UPDATES IN VERSION 3
The QEMU security team has predisclosed the following advisory:
pcnet_transmit loads a transmit-frame descriptor from the guest into the
/tmd/ local variable to recover a length field, a status field and a
guest-physical location of the associated frame buffer. If the status
field indicates that the frame buffer is ready to be sent out (i.e. by
setting the TXSTATUS_DEVICEOWNS, TXSTATUS_STARTPACKET and
TXSTATUS_ENDPACKET bits on the status field), the PCNET device
controller pulls in the frame from the guest-physical location to
s->buffer (which is 4096 bytes long), and then transmits the frame.
Because of the layout of the transmit-frame descriptor, it is not
possible to send the PCNET device controller a frame of length > 4096,
but it /is/ possible to send the PCNET device controller a frame that is
marked as TXSTATUS_STARTPACKET, but not TXSTATUS_ENDPACKET. If we do
this - and the PCNET controller is configured via the XMTRL CSR to
support split-frame processing - then the pcnet_transmit functions loops
round, pulling a second transmit frame descriptor from the guest. If
this second transmit frame descriptor sets the TXSTATUS_DEVICEOWNS and
doesn't set the TXSTATUS_STARTPACKET bits, this frame is appended to
the s->buffer field.
An attacker can then exploit this vulnerability by sending a first
packet of length 4096 to the device controller, and a second frame
containing N-bytes to trigger an N-byte heap overflow.
On 64-bit QEMU, a 24-byte overflow allows the guest to take control of
the phys_mem_write function pointer in the PCNetState_st structure, and
this is called when trying to flush the updated transmit frame
descriptor back to the guest. By specifying the content of the second
transmit frame, the attacker therefore gets reliable fully-chosen
control of the host instruction pointer, allowing them to take control
of the host.
A guest which has access to an emulated PCNET network device
(e.g. with "model=pcnet" in their VIF configuration) can exploit this
vulnerability to take over the qemu process elevating its privilege to
that of the qemu process.
All Xen systems running x86 HVM guests without stubdomains which have
been configured to use the PCNET emulated driver model are
The default configuration is NOT vulnerable (because it does not
emulate PCNET NICs).
Systems running only PV guests are NOT vulnerable.
Systems using qemu-dm stubdomain device models (for example, by
specifying "device_model_stubdomain_override=1" in xl's domain
configuration files) are NOT vulnerable.
Both the traditional "qemu-xen" or upstream qemu device models are
ARM systems are NOT vulnerable.
Avoiding the use of emulated network devices altogether, by specifying
a PV only VIF in the domain configuration file will avoid this
Avoiding the use of the PCNET device in favour of other emulations
will also avoid this issue.
Enabling stubdomains will mitigate this issue, by reducing the
escalation to only those privileges accorded to the service domain.
qemu-dm stubdomains are only available with the traditional "qemu-xen"
This issue was discovered by Matt Tait of Google and reported to us
via the QEMU security team.
Applying the appropriate attached patch(es) resolves this issue.
xsa135-qemuu-unstable.patch qemu-upstream, Xen unstable
xsa135-qemuu-4.5-*.patch qemu-upstream, Xen 4.5.x, Xen 4.4.x
xsa135-qemuu-4.3-*.patch qemu-upstream, Xen 4.3.x
xsa135-qemuu-4.2-*.patch qemu-upstream, Xen 4.2.x
xsa135-qemut-*.patch qemu-xen-traditional, Xen unstable, 4.5.x, 4.4.x, 4.3.x, 4.2.x
Note that the second patch for qemu-xen-traditional (all versions),
and qemu-upstream 4.3.x and 4.2.x are identical. Likewise
xsa135-qemuu-unstable.patch is the same as
xsa135-qemuu-4.5-2.patch. They are presented separately for
$ sha256sum xsa135*.patch
DEPLOYMENT DURING EMBARGO
Deployment of patches or mitigations is NOT permitted (except on
systems used and administered only by organisations which are members
of the Xen Project Security Issues Predisclosure List). Specifically,
deployment on public cloud systems is NOT permitted.
The decision not to permit deployment was made by the group that, at
their discretion, disclosed the issue to the Xen Project Security
Deployment is permitted only AFTER the embargo ends.
(Note: this during-embargo deployment notice is retained in
post-embargo publicly released Xen Project advisories, even though it
is then no longer applicable. This is to enable the community to have
oversight of the Xen Project Security Team's decisionmaking.)
For more information about permissible uses of embargoed information,
consult the Xen Project community's agreed Security Policy:
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.12 (GNU/Linux)
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Xenproject.org Security Team