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Security researchers from Qualys have announced a Local Privilege Escalation (LPE) vulnerability impacting the Linux operating system. The vulnerability is tracked as CVE-2021-33909 and has been alternatively named Sequoia. Exploitation would allow a threat actor with previous access to a vulnerable system to run code with root privileges. Proof-of-Concept (PoC) exploit code is publicly available; at this time the exploit code only allows for denial-of-service, but it is expected to be modified for LPE in the near future.
The Sequoia vulnerability has been confirmed to impact Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora; other Linux distributions are likely vulnerable but have not been confirmed at this point. Organizations are strongly recommended to apply security patches as they are released by individual Linux distributions.
Exploitation of CVE-2021-33909 has not been identified in the wild at this time. Exploitation is expected in the near future, as PoC code is publicly available, reducing the barriers of exploitation for threat actors.
Qualys has tested the exploit against installations of Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 21.04, Debian 11, and Fedora 34 Workstation. It is highly likely that other Linux distributions are impacted.
Qualys has released two mitigations for CVE-2021-33909. Despite mitigations, the primary recommendation is for organizations to apply the relevant security patches as soon as possible. It should be noted that both of the following mitigations may be bypassed.