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  • Locate running as root?    
    Monday, November 19 2007 @ 03:49 PM EST
    Contributed by: Admin

    Mac OS XUPDATE: I just tested this on my old 10.3 Mac... and the same thing happens! How long has this been the case? I could have sworn I've used 'locate' many times in the past and not seen other users' files. Hmm...

    (OK, now onto the original post.)

    One of the first things I noticed in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard seems to be a bad change and I can't imagine why Apple made it. 'Locate' has worked fine since 10.0 came out over six years ago. (UPDATE part 2: seems I'm wrong--testing 'locate' on a 10.3 box shows the same insecure behavior--so I guess the only new thing is that they show the warning. This is so, so weird--I swear it didn't used to do that. I thought OS X just silently used 'slocate' like most Linux distros do.) Now that I've updated to 10.5, when I say
    sudo /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb
    it tells me
    >>> WARNING
    >>> Executing updatedb as root. This WILL reveal all filenames
    >>> on your machine to all login users, which is a security risk.

    Sure enough, if I 'su -' to another user, create a file with a unique name, switch back to me, and 'locate' that file, it pops right up. Why?

    An example:

    omg5:~ brian$ locate abc123
    omg5:~ brian$ su - admin
    omg5:~ admin$ touch Desktop/abc123
    (Note: I put it in 'Desktop' because that folder has '700' permissions.)
    omg5:~ admin$ logout
    omg5:~ brian$ sudo /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb
    >>> WARNING
    >>> Executing updatedb as root. This WILL reveal all filenames
    >>> on your machine to all login users, which is a security risk.
    omg5:~ brian$ locate abc123
    omg5:~ brian$

    Note: this does not mean other users can read all these files, it just means that they can see that they exist, which is still a major security no-no.

      [ Views: 3204 ]  

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