Finding Linux instances vulnerable to PwnKit

(updated ), by Pearce Barry
icon

News dropped this week around a memory corruption vulnerability with a broad reach across many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, RHEL, Fedora, CentOS, Oracle, Arch, and SUSE. Having been present-but-unseen for over 12 years now, CVE-2021-4034 (with a “high” CVSS score of 7.8) resides in the PolKit (Policy Kit) component that is installed in many Linux distributions by default. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability provides a local privilege escalation (LPE) to hand over root-level privileges to an unprivileged user. Named PwnKit by the Qualys Research Team who discovered and disclosed the vulnerability, exploitation of vulnerable systems is considered to be straightforward and can purportedly be done without leaving an audit trail.

A number of major Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Red Hat, recently released patches to fix this vulnerability, as well as the PolKit toolkit, itself. In the event that patching is not possible or patches are not available for an affected Linux install, a mitigation is suggested by the Qualys Research Team via removing the SUID bit from the pkexec program. Patching or mitigation of vulnerable systems is recommended, particularly with publicly available exploit code now available on the Internet.

How to find Linux instances potentially vulnerable to PwnKit with runZero

From the Asset Inventory, use the following pre-built query to locate multi-user Linux assets within your network that are potentially vulnerable to PwnKit:

os:debian or os:ubuntu or os:mint or os:raspbian or os:="red hat%" or os:fedora or os:centos or os:cloudlinux or os:oracle or os:="arch%" or os:manjaro or os:suse
Find multi-user Linux servers

As always, any prebuilt queries we create are available from our Queries Library. Check out the library for other useful inventory queries.

Get runZero for free

Don’t have runZero and need help finding potentially vulnerable Control Web Panel instances?

Get started
Learn more about runZero

Similar Content

February 3, 2023

Finding Lexmark printer assets

Printer manufacturer Lexmark recently published details on a vulnerability that affects over 100 of their printer models. Learn how runZero can help you find potentially affected assets.

December 9, 2022

Finding Cisco 7800 and 8800 series IP phone assets on your network

Cisco 7800 and 8800 IP phones can be found in many companies and organizations. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability can provide an unauthenticated attacker in the same network segment or VLAN with remote code execution or denial-of-service capabilities.

December 5, 2022

Finding MegaRAC BMC assets on your network

MegaRAC can be found in many server manufacturers’ Baseboard Management Controllers (BMCs), including AMD, Ampere Computing, ASRock, Asus, ARM, Dell EMC, Gigabyte, HPE, Huawei, Inspur, Lenovo, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Quanta, and Tyan. Successful exploitation of these …