snapd vulnerable to Library Injection from CWD

Bug #1901572 reported by itszn
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Fix Released
Sergio Schvezov
snapcraft (Ubuntu)
Fix Released
Emilia Torino

Bug Description

I discovered that snapcraft will include the current directory as a search path for LD_LIBRARY_PATH when the home plug is enabled.
This means any snap package with the home plug, which are command line can be taken over if the user has a malicious file or directory in their CWD.

This was found when a snap package crashed due to being in the CWD search path:

itszn@ubuntu:snap-escape$ ls tls/
-rw-rw-r-- 1 itszn itszn 2030544 Oct 25 11:46 tls/
itszn@ubuntu:snap-escape$ vlc # random snap package
Segmentation fault (core dumped)
We can figure out why this is happening by checking strace:

  $ sudo strace -f -v -e execve -s 1000 sudo -u itszn vlc 2>&1 | egrep 'LD_LIBRARY_PATH=[^"]+"' -o | head -n 1
In the above variable, we see a :: this is the result of an empty env variable being used. This leads to
strange behavior in ld where it includes cwd in the search path (which I might also personally consider buggy).

The extra : is probably due to an empty path passed to either or

This bug means that any library not provided by the first search paths will be loaded from CWD, including

A malicious could be crafted to get code exec within the container when loaded. Additionally this file could
be hidden in a subdirectory named either tls or x86_64.

This code execution can then abuse other plugs, such as the x11 plug, to interact with the rest of the
system and run a script by sending key presses to an open terminal.

I have included a poc which will work with snaps using core-18 with home and x11 plugs. (for example VLC and Chromium)

The impact of this is large as it effects the most installed snaps (based on are vulnerable and include apps specifically made to open files from the cli. Additionally chromium is now shipping as a snap on ubuntu 20.04, meaning users who normally would not use snap are now becoming vulnerable to this.

Example running vlc in the POC directory:

itszn@ubuntu:~$ tar xfvz snap-escape.tar.gz
itszn@ubuntu:~$ cd snap-escape
itszn@ubuntu:snap-escape$ ls
total 8
-rw-rw-r-- 1 itszn itszn 0 Oct 25 11:04 amazing-movie.mp4
-rw-rw-r-- 1 itszn itszn 0 Oct 25 11:28 cool-page.html
-rw-rw-r-- 1 itszn itszn 2193 Oct 25 11:45 README.txt
drwxrwxr-x 3 itszn itszn 4096 Oct 25 11:28 tls
itszn@ubuntu:snap-escape$ vlc
Got code execution running as itszn inside snap container!

We can read/write any non-hidden (non-dot) file in
+ echo 'Hello from snap code exec' > /home/itszn/pwned
+ cat /home/itszn/pwned
Hello from snap code exec

However we are still restricted by the container

We cannot access dotfiles
+ echo 'echo PWNED' >> /home/itszn/.bashrc
./tls/s: 20: ./tls/s: cannot create /home/itszn/.bashrc: Permission denied

Or other non-home files
+ cat /etc/issue
cat: /etc/issue: Permission denied

Luckily, this snap has the x11 plug
We can use this escape the container!
Starting container escape...

Escape Success!

We are now running code outside of snap container, we now have full privs of itszn

For example we now can read /etc/issue:
+ cat /etc/issue
Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS \n \l

Or modify dotfiles
+ echo 'echo PWNED' >> /home/itszn/.bashrc
+ tail -n 1 /home/itszn/.bashrc
echo PWNED

Full escape and code execution~!

Attached is the poc

CVE References

Revision history for this message
itszn (itszn) wrote :

Additionally here is the script I used to generate the malicious

Revision history for this message
itszn (itszn) wrote :

Note: This was on Ubuntu 20.04 that it was tested. I have not tested on other distros.

Revision history for this message
Jamie Strandboge (jdstrand) wrote :

I agree that the LD_LIBRARY_PATH should be cleaned up.

In terms of the snap application, it is always going to be confined via the sandbox and will be as open or closed as this allows (eg, the x11 plug necessarily gives a lot of access due to the design of X, which is why things like xdotool allows you to do so much). Therefore, from the POV of the *snap*, this is not a security vulnerability (it doesn't need the shared lib from the host, it could just do that (ie, use xdotool)).

In terms of the *user*, the user doesn't need to hop through a snap application to break out of confinement, the user is already unconfined. In other words, the user doesn't need to put a shared lib on the system, then run a snap to have access to /etc/issue or run xdotool. The user can just perform those actions directly.

Where things get more interesting though is that a malicious snap with the home interface connected could target other snaps by writing out a crafted library then wait for another snap to be executed from this directory. That crafted library could exfiltrate data or run other commands within the context of the other snap. As such, I think this does constitute a security vulnerability.

IME the bug is in snapcraft, but we should look at snapd to explore if we should harden its 'environment' handling to remove the current directory from various env vars.

Revision history for this message
itszn (itszn) wrote :

First I don't totally know where the LD_LIBRARY_PATH is being messed up so I included snapcraft and snapd. Feel free to remove one or the other if not relevant.

Second, the attack vector here is that the user downloads something from the internet (let's say fantastic_4.tar.gz) then uses a snap inside the downloaded directory. The malicious directory/libc could then gain code execution. Normally running a program in an attacker controlled directory should not result in attacker code execution and would be considered a bad security vulnerability (ie exploiting vlc on its own).

I agree that the code shipped with the snap and the user doing this to themselves is not a security concern, but most people download files and that's where the danger is.

There are a lot of scenarios you could picture: vlc in a downloaded movie archive, code editor in a malicious source repo, chromium run by something like npm source watch, ghex being run on a suspicious binary to decide if it is malicious, docker building a docker image, etc.

In each example the user is running a snap in a potential downloaded directory which results in code execution which normally would not have happened if they had installed the app without snap.

This is not a great look for snap if this is not fixed

Revision history for this message
itszn (itszn) wrote :

Additional yes I also think using this as a escalation from on snap to anouther a potential attack vector for this bug as well.

Changed in snapcraft:
status: New → In Progress
importance: Undecided → Critical
assignee: nobody → Sergio Schvezov (sergiusens)
Revision history for this message
Steve Beattie (sbeattie) wrote :

Please use CVE-2020-27348 for this issue. Thanks!

Revision history for this message
Emilia Torino (emitorino) wrote :

Hello itszn,

Thank you for the report. The security team and the snapcraft team are coordinating a security update to fix this issue. We will inform further as soon as we have more details.

I am removing snapd from this bug as is not affected by this vulnerability.

no longer affects: snapd
Changed in snapcraft (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Emilia Torino (emitorino)
importance: Undecided → High
status: New → In Progress
Revision history for this message
itszn (itszn) wrote :

Hi, have there been any updates on this?

Revision history for this message
Alex Murray (alexmurray) wrote :

Yes this is being actively worked on - emitorino is coordinating this from the security team and will provide more details soon.

Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package snapcraft - 2.43.1+18.04.1

snapcraft (2.43.1+18.04.1) bionic-security; urgency=medium

  [ Sergio Schvezov ]
  * SECURITY UPDATE: library injection vulnerability on strict mode
    snaps built with snapcraft via misconfigured LD_LIBRARY_PATH
    - project_loader: do not export empty environment
    - meta: do not export empty environment. Warn on empty environment.
    - CVE-2020-27348
    - LP: #1901572

 -- Emilia Torino <email address hidden> Tue, 01 Dec 2020 09:10:42 -0300

Changed in snapcraft (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Released
Revision history for this message
Sergio Schvezov (sergiusens) wrote :

Snapcraft 4.4.4

Changed in snapcraft:
status: In Progress → Fix Released
Revision history for this message
Emilia Torino (emitorino) wrote :

The security update to fix this issue has been released. Please see, and

Thanks again itszn for your report and for helping us make Snapcraft better! We have decided to keep this bug private for one more week given the sensitiveness of the issue and the attached PoC you kindly provided us.

itszn: let us know if you have any further question.

Revision history for this message
Alex Murray (alexmurray) wrote :

Deleted PoC etc before marking this public.

information type: Private Security → Public Security
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