Rapid7 Vulnerability & Exploit Database

FreeBSD: VID-9D6A48A7-4DAD-11EA-8A1D-7085C25400EA: grub2-bhyve -- multiple privilege escalations

Free InsightVM Trial No Credit Card Necessary
Watch Demo See how it all works
Back to Search

FreeBSD: VID-9D6A48A7-4DAD-11EA-8A1D-7085C25400EA: grub2-bhyve -- multiple privilege escalations



Reno Robert reports:

FreeBSD uses a two-process model for running a VM. For booting non-FreeBSD

guests, a modified grub-emu is used (grub-bhyve). Grub-bhyve executes command

from guest grub.cfg file. This is a security problem because grub was never

written to handle inputs from OS as untrusted. In the current design, grub

and guest OS works across trust boundaries. This exposes a grub to untrusted

inputs from guest.

grub-bhyve (emu) is built without SDL graphics support which reduces lot of

gfx attack surface, however font loading code is still accessible. Guest can

provide arbitrary font file, which is parsed by grub-bhyve running as root.

In grub-core/font/font.c, read_section_as_string() allocates

section->length + 1 bytes of memory. However, untrusted

section->length is an unsigned 32-bit number, and the result can

overflow to malloc(0). This can result in a controlled buffer

overflow via the 'loadfont' command in a guest VM grub2.cfg, eventually leading

to privilege escalation from guest to host.

Reno Robert also reports:

GRUB supports commands to read and write addresses of choice. In

grub-bhyve, these commands provide a way to write to arbitrary virtual

addresses within the grub-bhyve process. This is another way for a guest

grub2.cfg, run by the host, to eventually escalate privileges.

These vulnerabilities are mitigated by disabling the 'loadfont', 'write_dword',

'read_dword', 'inl', 'outl', and other width variants of the same functionality in


There is also work in progress to sandbox the grub-bhyve utility such that

an escaped guest ends up with nobody:nobody in a Capsium sandbox. It is not

included in 0.40_8.


  • freebsd-upgrade-package-grub2-bhyve

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