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20/02/2018
Rashid-Feroze

A guide to Linux Privilege Escalation

What is Privilege escalation? Most computer systems are designed for use with multiple users. Privileges mean what a user is permitted to do. Common privileges include viewing and editing files, or modifying system files. Privilege escalation means a user receives privileges they are not entitled to. These privileges can be used to delete files, view private information, or install unwanted programs such as viruses. It usually occurs when a system has a bug that allows security to be bypassed or, alternatively, has flawed design assumptions about how it will be used. Privilege escalation is the act of exploiting a bug, design flaw or configuration oversight in an operating system or software application to gain elevated access to resources that are normally protected from an application or user. The result is that an application with more privileges than intended by the application developer or system administrator can perform unauthorized actions. While organizations are statistically likely to have more Windows clients, Linux privilege escalation attacks are significant threats to account for when considering an organization’s information security posture. Consider that an organization’s most critical infrastructure, such as web servers, databases, firewalls, etc. are very likely running a Linux operating system. Compromises to these critical devices have the potential to severely disrupt an organization’s operations, if not destroy them entirely. Furthermore, Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded systems are becoming ubiquitous in the workplace, thereby increasing the number of potential targets for malicious hackers. Given the prevalence of Linux devices in the workplace, it is of paramount importance that organizations harden and secure these devices. Objective In this blog, we will talk in detail as what security issues could lead to a successful privilege escalation attack on any Linux based systems. We would also discuss as how an attacker can use the possible known techniques to successfully elevate his privileges on a remote host and how we can protect our systems from any such attack. At the end, examples would be demonstrated as how we achieved privilege escalation on different Linux systems under different conditions....