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Re: CVS Security Issues

From: Derek Robert Price
Subject: Re: CVS Security Issues
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 13:31:35 -0500
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Walter, Jan wrote:

>The only reason to put the passwords somewhere else is to prevent someone
>from accidentally checking it out and accidentally changing or deleting
>someone elses' password and checking the file back in. It's a support
>not a security one, whether the user intended to change their password or

Actually, the party that requested the change and prompted me to start
this discussion stated a concern for the fact that anyone with write
access to CVSROOT could add passwd to CVSROOT/checkoutlist, `cvs add'
passwd via CVS, then commit it, causing the CVS server to create a
passwd,v that didn't previously exist and overwrite the existing (or
create) CVSROOT/passwd from the archive containing their version of the
passwd file.  Previously to 1.11.11, this could even be used to grant
them root privileges.

Now, the CVS manual does state that permissions on $CVSROOT/CVSROOT
should be controlled as tightly as those of /etc, rendering this point
somewhat moot since if permissions were controlled correctly, then this
wouldn't be able to happen.

It might be reasonable to move the most vulnerable files to a location
where sysadmins are already used to controlling the permissions tightly,
but many other fairly secure applications, Apache and qmail come
instantly to mind, do not seem to find it important to bother with
this.  Anyhow, my reporter was enthusiastic, but I wasn't so sure, so I
thought I would see what others thought about it.


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