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Re: On classifying attacks

From: James Longstreet (jlongs2uic.edu)
Date: Fri Jul 15 2005 - 18:40:42 CDT

Hash: SHA1

On Jul 14, 2005, at 9:39 PM, Derek Martin wrote:

> This kind of attack has a name already: it is a trojan horse.
> But is this a remote exploit?

No, it's not an exploit at all. Systems are not vulnerable to it
unless a local user runs an executable. The only thing it exploits
is trust of email (or similar vector).

Your example involving BIND is a good example of a true remote
exploit. A local exploit is typically categorized as one that
requires permissions on the system to begin with, and is used to gain
elevated permissions (such as exploiting a setuid program, or causing
root to write files through symlink race conditions).

This leaves one significant class of vulnerabilities, however. Let's
imagine for a moment that there is a buffer overflow in libjpeg that
allows an attacker to create a malicious JPEG which can cause any
program using libjpeg to execute arbitrary code. This should be
classified as a remote vulnerability. Users should be able to trust
that opening a JPEG file will only cause certain code to run, namely
decoding and displaying that JPEG.
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