A new Linux “Mutagen Astronomy” security vulnerability impacts Red Hat and CentoOS Linux distros.

A security firm has published details and proof-of-concept (PoC) code about a vulnerability in the Linux kernel that impacts only CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distributions.

The vulnerability called Mutagen Astronomy, and tracked as CVE-2018-14634 was discovered by the team at the Qualys Research Labs.  This vulnerability is categorized as a Local Privilege Escalation (LPE) issue.

Crooks can explore this vulnerability locally and thus to gain access and complete control over the infected system.

According to Qualys researchers, the vulnerability is associated with create_elf_tables() Linux kernel function, where an exploit can be specially created to cause a buffer overflow that executes malicious code with root privileges.

The vulnerability was present in the Linux kernel between July 19, 2007 (kernel commit: b6a2fea39318) and July 7, 2017 (kernel commit: da029c11e6b1).

“Even though all Linux kernels are technically vulnerable, this issue is mitigated by a one-year-old patch that was backported to most long-term kernels and makes exploitation impossible,” a Qualys spokesperson told ZDNet today.

“However, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS have not backported this patch, and are therefore vulnerable and exploitable,” the spokesperson added.


 Red Hat team confirmed this issue today in a public communication.

This issue affects the version of the kernel packages as shipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, 7 and Red Hat Enterprise MRG 2. Future kernel updates for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, 7 and Red Hat Enterprise MRG 2 will address this issue,” the Red Hat team said.


No patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Until a patch will be ready, the Red Hat security team posted basic mitigation advice on how to protect vulnerable systems until a patch would be out.


Qualys researchers have published a detailed write-up of the weirdly named Mutagen Astronomy vulnerability, along with two PoCs [12].


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