Critical PPP Daemon Flaw Opens Most Linux Systems to Remote Hackers


Point-to-Point Protocol Daemon Vulnerability

The US-CERT today issued advisory warning users of a new dangerous 17-year-old remote code execution vulnerability affecting the PPP daemon (pppd) software that comes installed on almost all Linux based operating systems, as well as powers the firmware of many other networking devices.

The affected pppd software is an implementation of Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) that enables communication and data transfer between nodes, primarily used to establish internet links such as those over dial-up modems, DSL broadband connections, and Virtual Private Networks.

Discovered by IOActive security researcher Ilja Van Sprundel, the critical issue is a stack buffer overflow vulnerability that exists due to a logical error in the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) packet parser of the pppd software.

The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-8597 with CVSS Score 9.8, can be exploited by unauthenticated attackers to remotely execute arbitrary code on affected systems and take full control over them.

For this, all an attacker needs to do is to send an unsolicited malformed EAP packet to a vulnerable ppp client or a server.

Additionally, since pppd often runs with high privileges and works in…

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