A vulnerability in cryptsetup, a utility used to set up encrypted filesystems on Linux distributions, could allow an attacker to retrieve a root rescue shell on some systems. From there, an attacker could have the ability to copy, modify, or destroy a hard disk, or use the network to exfiltrate data.
Cryptsetup, a utility used to setup disk encryption based on the dm-crypt kernel module, is usually deployed in Debian and Ubuntu. Researchers warned late last week that if anyone uses the tool to encrypt system partitions for the operating systems, they’re likely vulnerable.
Two researchers, Hector Marco of the University of the West of Scotland and Ismael Ripoll, of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, in Spain, disclosed the vulnerability on Friday at DeepSec, a security conference held at the Imperial Riding School Renaissance Vienna Hotel in Austria.
According to the researchers, the script with the vulnerability (CVE-2016-4484) is in the Debian cryptsetup package 2:1.7.2-3 and earlier. Systems that use Dracut, an infrastructure commonly deployed on Fedora in lieu of initramfs – a simple RAM file system directory, are also vulnerable, according to the researchers. The pair say additional Linux distributions outside of Debian and Ubuntu may be vulnerable, they just haven’t tested them yet.