Researchers have discovered several vulnerabilities in the Linux command line tool Beep, some experts suggest to remove the utility from distros.

An unnamed security researcher has found several vulnerabilities in the Linux command line tool Beep, including a severe flaw introduced by a patch for a privilege escalation vulnerability.

Beep is a small open source utility used in the past by Linux developers to produce a beep with a computer’s internal speaker, it allows users to control the pitch, duration, and repetitions of the sound.

The researcher discovered a race condition in the utility that could be exploited by an attacker to escalate privileges to root. Versions through 1.3.4 are affected by the flaw that was tracked as CVE-2018-0492.

Further info on the flaw is available on the website

holey beep

Is your system vulnerable? In order to discover if a system is vulnerable it is possible to run the following command:

curl | sudo bash

A vulnerable machine will beep.

The Holey Beep website also provides a patch, but experts noticed that it actually introduces a potentially more serious vulnerability that could be exploited to execute an arbitrary code on the patched system.

“The patch vulnerability seems more severe to me, as people apply patches all the time (they shouldn’t do it as root, but people are people),” reads a message published by Tony Hoyle on the Debian bug tracker. “It’s concerning that the site exploited an unrelated fault for ‘fun’ without apparently telling anyone.”

Beep is also affected by other issues, including integer overflow vulnerabilities, and a flaw that can reveal information about the file on the system.

Waiting for a code review of the utility, probably it is time to remove the utility from distros because PC speaker doesn’t exist in most modern systems.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Linux distros, hacking)

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