CVE-2021-21261

Published: 14 January 2021

Flatpak is a system for building, distributing, and running sandboxed desktop applications on Linux. A bug was discovered in the `flatpak-portal` service that can allow sandboxed applications to execute arbitrary code on the host system (a sandbox escape). This sandbox-escape bug is present in versions from 0.11.4 and before fixed versions 1.8.5 and 1.10.0. The Flatpak portal D-Bus service (`flatpak-portal`, also known by its D-Bus service name `org.freedesktop.portal.Flatpak`) allows apps in a Flatpak sandbox to launch their own subprocesses in a new sandbox instance, either with the same security settings as the caller or with more restrictive security settings. For example, this is used in Flatpak-packaged web browsers such as Chromium to launch subprocesses that will process untrusted web content, and give those subprocesses a more restrictive sandbox than the browser itself. In vulnerable versions, the Flatpak portal service passes caller-specified environment variables to non-sandboxed processes on the host system, and in particular to the `flatpak run` command that is used to launch the new sandbox instance. A malicious or compromised Flatpak app could set environment variables that are trusted by the `flatpak run` command, and use them to execute arbitrary code that is not in a sandbox. As a workaround, this vulnerability can be mitigated by preventing the `flatpak-portal` service from starting, but that mitigation will prevent many Flatpak apps from working correctly. This is fixed in versions 1.8.5 and 1.10.0.

Priority

Medium

CVSS 3 base score: 8.8

Status

Package Release Status
flatpak
Launchpad, Ubuntu, Debian
Upstream Needs triage

Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) Pending

Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla)
Released (1.8.2-1ubuntu0.1)
Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa)
Released (1.6.5-0ubuntu0.2)
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver)
Released (1.0.9-0ubuntu0.2)
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Does not exist

Ubuntu 14.04 ESM (Trusty Tahr) Does not exist