Vulnerability Note VU#174790

Apple Mac OS X vulnerable to privilege escalation when using Directory Services

Original Release date: 21 Jun 2004 | Last revised: 21 Jul 2004


A vulnerability in Mac OS X may permit a local authenticated user with physical access to the machine to gain elevated privileges.


Mac OS X permits the remote authentication of users via directory sevices lookups. When a user logs in to a machine configured to use the Directory Services to provide authentication, it is possible to disconnect the machine's network connection and potentially be logged in with a Finder running as root. This gives the user full root permissions on the machine. Applications started in the session will also run as root.

This vulnerability affects Mac OS X 10.3 through 10.3.3.


A local authenticated user with physical access to the machine may be able to gain root privileges to the system.


Apple has resolved this issue in Mac OS X 10.3.4. A free upgrade is available at

Systems Affected (Learn More)

VendorStatusDate NotifiedDate Updated
Apple Computer Inc.Affected-21 Jun 2004
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



Thanks to Jim Foraker for reporting this vulnerability.

This document was written by Jason A Rafail.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CAN-2004-0514
  • Date Public: 28 May 2004
  • Date First Published: 21 Jun 2004
  • Date Last Updated: 21 Jul 2004
  • Severity Metric: 0.24
  • Document Revision: 8


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