Both of these issues were reported to the Apport maintainers and a fix was released on 2016-12-14. The CrashDB code injection issue can be tracked with CVE-2016-9949 and the path traversal bug with CVE-2016-9950. An additional problem where arbitrary commands can be called with the “Relaunch” action is tracked by CVE-2016-9951. I’d like to thank Martin Pitt and the Ubuntu security team for getting a fix (https://bugs.launchpad.net/apport/+bug/1648806) released so quickly. They have been a pleasure to work with.
I would encourage all security researchers to audit free and open source software if they have time on their hands. Projects such as Tor, Tails, Debian and Ubuntu all need more eyes for audits which can improve the safety of the internet for everyone. There are lots of bugs out there which don’t need hardcore memory corruption exploitation skills. Logic bugs can be much more reliable than any ROP chain.
The computer security industry has a serious conflict of interest right now. There is major financial motivation for researchers to find and disclose vulnerability to exploit brokers. Many of the brokers are in the business of keeping problems unfixed. Code execution bugs are valuable. As a data point, I received an offer of more than 10,000 USD from an exploit vendor for these Apport bugs. These financial motivators are only increasing as software gets more secure and bugs become more difficult to find.
To improve security for everyone we need to find sustainable ways to incentivize researchers to find and disclose issues and to get bugs fixed. We can’t and we shouldn’t rely on researchers giving away their work for free to for-profit vendors. We will not get security like that.
Microsoft and Google have shown a good example with their vulnerability reward programs. The Internet Bug Bounty (https://internetbugbounty.org/) is also doing great work and helping to support research on critical internet software. I hope that they can continue the program and expand their scope in the future. I hope we can cooperatively build a shared and secure internet together.