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Category:   OS (UNIX)  >   FreeBSD Kernel Vendors:   FreeBSD
FreeBSD Kernel sys_amd64 IRET Handler Flaw Lets Local Users Deny Service or Gain Elevated Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1033376
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2015-5675   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Aug 26 2015
Impact:   Denial of service via local system, User access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 9.3, 10.1
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in FreeBSD. A local user can cause denial of service conditions on the target system. A local user can obtain elevated privileges on the target system.

A local user can trigger a return from interrupt (IRET) with #SS or #NP exceptions to gain elevated privileges or cause a kernel panic.

Konstantin Belousov and Andrew Lutomirski reported this vulnerability.

Impact:   A local user can cause denial of service conditions on the target system.

A local user can obtain elevated privileges on the target system.

Solution:   FreeBSD has issued a fix.

The FreeBSD advisory is available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-SA-15:21.amd64

Hash: SHA512

FreeBSD-SA-15:21.amd64                                      Security Advisory
                                                          The FreeBSD Project

Topic:          Local privilege escalation in IRET handler

Category:       core
Module:         sys_amd64
Announced:      2015-08-25
Credits:        Konstantin Belousov, Andrew Lutomirski
Affects:        FreeBSD 9.3 and FreeBSD 10.1
Corrected:      2015-03-31 00:59:30 UTC (stable/10, 10.1-STABLE)
                2015-08-25 20:48:58 UTC (releng/10.1, 10.1-RELEASE-p19)
                2015-03-31 01:08:51 UTC (stable/9, 9.3-STABLE)
                2015-08-25 20:49:05 UTC (releng/9.3, 9.3-RELEASE-p24)
CVE Name:       CVE-2015-5675

For general information regarding FreeBSD Security Advisories,
including descriptions of the fields above, security branches, and the
following sections, please visit <URL:>.

I.   Background

FreeBSD/amd64 is commonly used on 64bit systems with AMD and Intel

The GS segment CPU register is used by both user processes and the
kernel to conveniently access state data: 32-bit user processes use the
register to manage per-thread data, while the kernel uses it to access
per-processor data.

The return from interrupt (IRET) instruction returns program control
from an interrupt handler to the interrupted context.

II.  Problem Description

If the kernel-mode IRET instruction generates an #SS or #NP exception,
but the exception handler does not properly ensure that the right GS
register base for kernel is reloaded, the userland GS segment may be
used in the context of the kernel exception handler.

III. Impact

By causing an IRET with #SS or #NP exceptions, a local attacker can
cause the kernel to use an arbitrary GS base, which may allow escalated
privileges or panic the system.

IV.  Workaround

No workaround is available.

V.   Solution

Perform one of the following:

1) Upgrade your vulnerable system to a supported FreeBSD stable or
release / security branch (releng) dated after the correction date,
and reboot the system.

2) To update your vulnerable system via a binary patch:

Systems running a RELEASE version of FreeBSD on the i386 or amd64
platforms can be updated via the freebsd-update(8) utility:

# freebsd-update fetch
# freebsd-update install

And reboot the system.

3) To update your vulnerable system via a source code patch:

The following patches have been verified to apply to the applicable
FreeBSD release branches.

a) Download the relevant patch from the location below, and verify the
detached PGP signature using your PGP utility.

# fetch
# fetch
# gpg --verify amd64.patch.asc

b) Apply the patch.  Execute the following commands as root:

# cd /usr/src
# patch < /path/to/patch

c) Recompile your kernel as described in
<URL:> and reboot the

VI.  Correction details

The following list contains the correction revision numbers for each
affected branch.

Branch/path                                                      Revision
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
stable/9/                                                         r280877
releng/9.3/                                                       r287147
stable/10/                                                        r280875
releng/10.1/                                                      r287146
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------

To see which files were modified by a particular revision, run the
following command, replacing NNNNNN with the revision number, on a
machine with Subversion installed:

# svn diff -cNNNNNN --summarize svn://

Or visit the following URL, replacing NNNNNN with the revision number:


VII. References


The latest revision of this advisory is available at
Version: GnuPG v2.1.7 (FreeBSD)

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