Virtual PC Services Insecure Temporary File Creation

Application: Connectix Virtual PC 6.0.x / Microsoft Virtual PC 6.1
Platform: Mac OS X
Severity: Local privilege escalation
Author: George Gal Vendor Status: Vendor has updated version of the software CVE Candidate: CAN-2004-0115


Virtual PC is a popular x86 virtual machine emulator capable running several guest operating systems under the Mac OS X and Windows platforms. Virtual PC provides a set of services for managing network sharing capabilities under Mac OS X. These services are spawned from the setuid root binary, VirtualPC_Services, which creats several temporary files when it is executed. The VirtualPC_Services does not check for several unsafe conditions prior to creation of these temporary files. As a result an attacker with interactive login access to the system may leverage insecure temporary files to become root or overwrite critical system files.


@stake has identified a vulnerability within the setuid root binary,
VirtualPC_Services, due to its inability to check for dangerous
conditions prior to temporary file creation. This vulnerability
allows an attacker to truncate and overwrite arbitrary files in
addition to creation of arbitrary files with insecure file

Using this vulnerability it is feasible for an attacker to gain root
privileges on the system. The VirtualPC_Services binary creates a
log file upon startup as /tmp/VPCServices_Log. An attacker may
create a symbolic link in the /tmp/ directory as VPCServices_Log
pointing to an arbitrary file to be overwritten when the
VirtualPC_Services binary is executed. However, when the symbolic
link points to a non-existent file a new file is created with file
permissions determined by the unprivileged user’s umask(2) settings.

Vendor Response:

Microsoft has an updated version of the software available.

Download information available at:


If possible install the updated version of Virtual PC.

Do not install Virtual PC on a multi-user machine. If this is a
requirement, only allow users with in a particular group to access
Virtual PC.