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Exploit emerges for LZO algo hole

Take one Nyan Cat, add Firefox and hope your Linux distro has been patched

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Security Mouse security researcher Don A Bailey has showcased an exploit of the Lempel-Ziv-Oberhumer (LZ0) compression algorithm running in the Mplayer2 media player and says it could leave some Linuxes vulnerable to attack.

The LZO data compression algorithm was created by Markus Oberhumer in 1994 and was discovered to be vulnerable in June.

Bailey's demo of the Mplayer2 plugin shows a vulnerability that can trigger remote code execution (RCE) by way of a Nyan Cat image reel displayed on an updated version of FireFox version 30.

It was revealed the vulnerability could trigger an integer overflow vulnerability that caused a denial of service or buffer overflow resulting in remote code execution under specific conditions.

"This is not a Firefox attack," Bailey said.

"I said [in a blog] I would be releasing an Mplayer2 app, and pointed at gecko-mediaplayer being straight-up vulnerable."

"My concern is that these apps/plugins are installed by default on some distributions of Linux."

He said Linux distributions were surprisingly slow at applying LZO fixes despite it existing for media platforms Libav and FFmpeg.

Firefox itself is vulnerable to RCE but only in very constrained cases using certain browser versions which limited the attack enough that Bailey would not bother releasing his lz4 compressed bookmark boy-in the browser demonstration.

NCC Group security bod Wade Alcorn (@WadeAlcorn) said plugins represent unwelcome risk.

"Plugins have a considerable attack surface and have been a thorn in the side of browser security for some time. The browser plugin model is baked into browser design and won't go away anytime soon," Alcorn said. ®

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