CERT Vendor-Initiated Bulletin VB-95:05 - OSF

CERT Vendor-Initiated Bulletin VB-95:05
July 21, 1995

Topic: OSF/DCE Security Hole
Source: Open Software Foundation (OSF)

To aid in the wide distribution of essential security information, the CERT
Coordination Center is forwarding the following information from the Open
Software Foundation. OSF urges you to act on this information as soon as
possible. OSF contact information is included in the forwarded text
below; please contact them if you have any questions or need further

========================FORWARDED TEXT STARTS HERE============================

                   Advisory on OSF/DCE Security Hole
                             July 19, 1995
       It has been discovered that OSF/DCE security has a flawed aliasing
       mechanism in its registry that can potentially yield a less secure
       DCE cell.

       Multiple administrators in a DCE cell (i.e., principals with the
       privileges required to create principals and accounts within the DCE
       registry), some of which are intended to be less trusted than the
       cell administrator (e.g., principals intended to be restricted to
       create principals and accounts only within a subset of DCE registry
       name space), cannot be prevented from acquiring full privileges of
       the cell administrator. Due to a flaw in the DCE security registry
       such less privileged administrators are able to gain full privileges
       by creating an alias to the cell administrator. The security server
       grants an alias principal full rights of the principal it is aliased

       DCE security registry principals are generally not allowed to create
       accounts. Only an account designated as some type of administrator,
       by explicitly creating ACL entries for that principal, allows it to
       do things to the registry that normal users are not allowed to do,
       that is, create principals and accounts in a certain part of the
       security name space. In OSF/DCE as it ships, only cell_admin is
       given such privileges. To that effect, the DCE cell administrator can
       prevent any loss of security by following the guidelines described

       This security hole has existed in all releases of OSF/DCE todate.
       To avoid the problem in releases prior to OSF/DCE 1.1, the DCE cell
       administrators should not explicitly give registry administration
       rights to principals that would not otherwise have access to the
       cell administrator account itself. As distributed by OSF, only
       cell_admin is given such rights.

       OSF is in the process of providing a fix for this defect to DCE 1.1
       support licensees for them to apply to their DCE 1.1 based products.
       The end-users may ask their DCE vendors for such a fix. All future
       releases of OSF/DCE will have this fix incorporated.