Home Vulnerability Your Linux Can Get Hacked Simply by Opening a File in Vim or Neovim Editor

Your Linux Can Get Hacked Simply by Opening a File in Vim or Neovim Editor

by ethhack
linux vim vulnerability

Linux customers, beware!

If you have not not too long ago up to date your Linux working system, particularly the command-line textual content editor utility, don’t even attempt to view the content material of a file utilizing Vim or Neovim.

Safety researcher Armin Razmjou not too long ago found a high-severity arbitrary OS command execution vulnerability (CVE-2019-12735) in Vim and Neovim—two hottest and highly effective command-line textual content enhancing purposes that come pre-installed with most Linux-based working programs.

On Linux programs, Vim editor permits customers to create, view or edit any file, together with textual content, programming scripts, and paperwork.

Since Neovim is simply an prolonged forked model of Vim, with higher person expertise, plugins and GUIs, the code execution vulnerability additionally resides in it.

Code Execution Flaw in Vim and Neovim

Razmjou discovered a flaw in the way in which Vim editor handles “modelines,” a function that is enabled-by-default to mechanically discover and apply a set of customized preferences talked about by the creator of a file close to the beginning and ending strains within the doc.


Although the editor solely permits a subset of choices in modelines (for safety causes) and makes use of sandbox safety if it comprises an unsafe expression, Razmjou revealed that utilizing “:supply!” command (with a bang [!] modifier) can be utilized to bypass the sandbox.

Due to this fact, simply opening an harmless wanting specifically crafted file utilizing Vim or Neovim may enable attackers to secretly execute instructions in your Linux system and take distant management over it.

The researcher has additionally launched two proof-of-concept exploits to the general public, one in every of which demonstrates a real-life assault state of affairs whereby a distant attacker beneficial properties entry to a reverse shell from the sufferer’s system as quickly as he/she opens a file on it.

The maintainers of Vim (patch 8.1.1365) and Neovim (launched in v0.3.6) have launched updates for each utilities to handle the difficulty, which customers ought to set up as quickly as potential.

In addition to this, the researcher has additionally really helpful customers to:

  • disable modelines function,
  • disable “modelineexpr” to disallow expressions in modelines,
  • use “securemodelines plugin,” a safe various to Vim modelines.

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