A vulnerability exists in the rpc.statd program which is part of the nfs-utils packages, distributed with a number of popular Linux distributions. Because of a format string vulnerability when calling the syslog() function a malicious remote user can execute code as root.
The rpc.statd server is an RPC server that implements the Network Status and Monitor RPC protocol. It's a component of the Network File System (NFS) architecture.
The logging code in rpc.statd uses the syslog() function passing it as the format string user supplied data. A malicious user can construct a format string that injects executable code into the process address space and overwrites a function's return address, thus forcing the program to execute the code.
rpc.statd requires root privileges for opening its network socket, but fails to drop these privileges later on. Thus code executed by the malicious user will execute with root privileges.
Debian, Red Hat and Connectiva have all released advisories on this matter. Presumably, any Linux distribution which runs the statd process is vulnerable, unless patched for the problem.
With Rapid7 live dashboards, I have a clear view of all the assets on my network, which ones can be exploited, and what I need to do in order to reduce the risk in my environment in real-time. No other tool gives us that kind of value and insight.
– Scott Cheney, Manager of Information Security, Sierra View Medical Center