Launchpad bug link:

Apparently there is a security vulnerability with the current Nvidia Drivers that gives the attacker root access?

Excerpt from Phoronix article:
Phoronix news link: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTE1MTk

"David Airlie published this NVIDIA hack today to a mailing list (the exploit is attached there as a single C file). Airlie isn't the original author of this hack but rather the code was passed onto him by an anonymous user(s). The code was forwarded to NVIDIA Corp more than one month ago, but the official NVIDIA Linux proprietary driver developers have yet to act on the vulnerability. As a result, it was decided to release this to the public. Now maybe NVIDIA will take care of it since this 760 lines of C code can provide root access to a system running the NVIDIA binary blob. First up I didn't write this but I have executed it and it did work here,

I was given this anonymously, it has been sent to nvidia over a month ago with no reply or advisory and the original author wishes to remain anonymous but would like to have the exploit published at this time, so I said I'd post it for them.

It basically abuses the fact that the /dev/nvidia0 device accept changes to the VGA window and moves the window around until it can read/write to somewhere useful in physical RAM, then it just does an priv escalation by writing directly to kernel memory."


  1. Which Nvidia Proprietary driver versions does this affect?
  2. Should we update to a specific version to avoid this?
  3. Are Nvidia 295.49 x86_64 drivers safe?
  4. Is Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 3.2.0-27-generic #43-Ubuntu immune from this?

Launchpad.net Link: https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nvidia-graphics-drivers-updates/+question/204865

  • This affects all current Nvidia proprietary drivers available in the official repositories, PPAs or from the Nvidia website; until a fix is released, there's nothing to upgrade/downgrade to.
  • This is not the Ubuntu/Linux kernel's fault or problem, it's a vulnerability in the Nvidia driver - the kernel must let the driver run with very high privileges for it to properly function.

What can you do?

The exploit is a demonstration only; if you follow normal security practices and do not install random packages or execute or compile random binaries, you should be safe.

If you are still concerned and can do without the 3D functionality provided by the proprietary drivers, consider uninstalling them, which leaves you with the open-source nouveau driver -- it is not affected by this vulnerability.

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  • All official Canonical and Debian repositories as well as repositories managed by Canonical employees are vetted for malicious code and inconsistencies yes? They analyze the hashes and inspect code as far as they can? So you would recommend doing everything with offical or semi-official PPA's via apt-get or synaptic, compiling applications from source code from reliable sources like the Linux Foundation, Google, LibreOffice or Mozilla and staying FAR FAR away from everything else? – user79034 Aug 2 '12 at 19:11

Did they just fix this? It seems so...


NVIDIA received notification of a security exploit that uses NVIDIA UNIX device files to map and program registers to redirect the VGA window. Through the VGA window, the exploit can access any region of physical system memory. This arbitrary memory access can be further exploited, for example, to escalate user privileges.

Because any user with read and write access to the NVIDIA device files (which is needed to execute applications that use the GPU) could potentially exploit this vulnerability to gain access to arbitrary system memory, this vulnerability is classified as high risk by NVIDIA.

NVIDIA is resolving this problem by blocking user-space access to registers that control redirection of the VGA window. Further, NVIDIA is also blocking user-space access to registers that control GPU-internal microcontrollers, which could be used to achieve a similar exploit.

NVIDIA is committed to security and is working on more robust solutions to prevent malicious manipulations of GPUs.

NVIDIA has released an updated UNIX graphics driver 304.32 which contains the fix.

The 304.32 driver is available for download at the NVIDIA FTP site:

32-bit Linux: ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/304.32/ 64-bit Linux: ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/304.32/

Solaris: ftp://download.nvidia.com/solaris/304.32/

32-bit FreeBSD: ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/FreeBSD-x86/304.32/ 64-bit FreeBSD: ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/FreeBSD-x86_64/304.32/

NVIDIA will update the 295 release series graphics driver next.

Additionally, a patch to the kernel interface layer of the NVIDIA kernel module is available, which can be used to patch older drivers, if necessary. Note that the Linux CUDA debugger will not work with older drivers if the patch is applied, though the Linux CUDA debugger will work properly with 304.32.

The patch and instructions on how to apply it are available at ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/patches/security/2012-08-01/.

NVIDIA provides a technical contact for information about potential security issues. Anyone who has identified what they believe to be a security issue with an NVIDIA UNIX driver is encouraged to directly contact the NVIDIA UNIX Graphics Driver security email alias, unix-security@nvidia.com, to report and evaluate any potential issues prior to publishing a public security advisory.

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