HPE: Sudo Flaw Grants Attackers Root Privileges to Aruba Platform

 

A vulnerability in Sudo, open-source software used within HP's Aruba AirWave management platform, can enable any unprivileged and unauthorized local user to acquire root privileges on a vulnerable host, as warned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). 

According to a recent HPE security advisory, the Sudo vulnerability may be part of a "chained attack." An attacker gains a foothold with fewer rights via another flaw and then exploits this to escalate privileges. 

The Aruba AirWave management platform for wired and wireless infrastructures is HPE's real-time monitoring and security warning system. In January, researchers at Qualys discovered the Sudo issue (CVE-2021-3156) and think it affects millions of endpoint devices and systems. 

According to the Sudo license, Sudo is software used by various platforms that allows a system admin to distribute power to give particular users (or groups of users) the ability to perform certain (or all) commands as root or another user.” 

Mehul Revankar, Qualys' VP of Product Management and Engineering, defined the Sudo bug as "perhaps the most significant Sudo vulnerability in recent memory (both in terms of scope and impact) and has been hiding in plain sight for nearly 10 years" in a research note at the time it was discovered. 

For HPE, the company officially reported the issue last week, stating that it impacted the AirWave management platform prior to version 8.2.13.0, released on June 18, 2021. 

According to the security bulletin, “A vulnerability in the command line parameter parsing code of Sudo could allow an attacker with access to Sudo to execute commands or binaries with root privileges.” 

The Sudo vulnerability has been termed "Baron Samedit" by Qualys researchers, who claim the flaw was introduced into the Sudo code in July 2011. The problem was first thought to primarily affect Linux and BSD operating systems, including Ubuntu 20.04 (Sudo 1.8.31), Debian 10 (Sudo 1.8.27), and Fedora 33. (Sudo 1.9.2). 

Since then, further security advisories have been issued by other companies. HPE isn't the first company to report a Sudo dependency in its code, and it probably won't be the last. 

However, in February, an Apple security advisory warned that the Sudo vulnerability was present in macOS (macOS Big Sur 11.2, macOS Catalina 10.15.7, macOS Mojave 10.14.6). Following the announcement, Apple released a Sudo patch (Sudo version 1.9.5p2) to fix the vulnerability. 

Mitigate The Risk

According to experts, the flaw may be exploited to carry out privilege escalation attacks in the context of the Aruba AirWave management platform Sudo's flaw is a heap-based buffer overflow that allows any local user to deceive Sudo to operate in shell mode. 

Researchers explain that when Sudo is executed in shell mode, it "escapes special characters in the command's parameters with a backslash." Then, a policy plug-in eliminates any escape characters before deciding on the Sudo user's permissions.” 

Users should upgrade to version 8.2.13.0 or above of HPE's AirWave management platform to mitigate the potential risk, according to HPE. Sudo issued a fix earlier this year as well, for HPE AirWave, a technical fix is also available:

“To minimize the likelihood of an attacker exploiting these vulnerabilities, Aruba recommends that the CLI and web-based management interfaces for AirWave be restricted to a dedicated layer 2 segment/VLAN and/or controlled by firewall policies at layer 3 and above,” as per HPE.