Vulnerability Note VU#123651

IBM AIX lsfs utility invokes grep and lslv with relative pathnames

Original Release date: 05 Sep 2001 | Last revised: 05 Sep 2001


The IBM AIX operating system contains a vulnerability in the lsfs utility that allows a local user to execute arbitrary code as root.


The IBM AIX lsfs utility displays filesystem information such as mount points, permissions and volume sizes. To list this information, it executes lslv to list logical volumes and grep to parse the resulting output. Because lsfs uses relative pathnames when executing grep and lslv, a local attacker can use the PATH environment variable to redirect the calls made by lsfs to a local version of either grep or lslv. If setuid root permissions have been applied to lsfs, the local versions of grep and lslv will be executed with root privileges.


This vulnerability allows local users to execute arbitrary code as root.


Apply a patch from your vendor

IBM has released APAR IY16909 to address this issue. For further information, please consult the "Systems Affected" section of this document.

Clear setuid bit on lsfs

Previous to AIX 5.1 and some versions of AIX 4.3.3, default installations of AIX contained an lsfs binary with the setuid bit enabled. To reduce the impact of this vulnerability on those versions, use the chmod command to clear the setuid bit.

Systems Affected (Learn More)

VendorStatusDate NotifiedDate Updated
IBMAffected21 Aug 200104 Sep 2001
If you are a vendor and your product is affected, let us know.

CVSS Metrics (Learn More)

Group Score Vector
Base N/A N/A
Temporal N/A N/A
Environmental N/A N/A



This document was written by Jeffrey P. Lanza and is based on information provided by IBM.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CAN-2001-0573
  • Date Public: 03 Apr 2001
  • Date First Published: 05 Sep 2001
  • Date Last Updated: 05 Sep 2001
  • Severity Metric: 21.37
  • Document Revision: 16


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