This is a cross-post of the official security advisory. The official advisory contains a signed version with our PGP key, as well.
The Rust Security Response WG was notified that Cargo did not prevent extracting some malformed packages downloaded from alternate registries. An attacker able to upload packages to an alternate registry could fill the filesystem or corrupt arbitary files when Cargo downloaded the package.
These issues have been assigned CVE-2022-36113 and CVE-2022-36114. The severity of these vulnerabilities is "low" for users of alternate registries. Users relying on crates.io are not affected.
Note that by design Cargo allows code execution at build time, due to build scripts and procedural macros. The vulnerabilities in this advisory allow performing a subset of the possible damage in a harder to track down way. Your dependencies must still be trusted if you want to be protected from attacks, as it's possible to perform the same attacks with build scripts and procedural macros.
Arbitrary file corruption (CVE-2022-36113)
After a package is downloaded, Cargo extracts its source code in the
folder on disk, making it available to the Rust projects it builds. To record
when an extraction is successfull, Cargo writes "ok" to the
.cargo-ok file at
the root of the extracted source code once it extracted all the files.
It was discovered that Cargo allowed packages to contain a
symbolic link, which Cargo would extract. Then, when Cargo attempted to write
.cargo-ok, it would actually replace the first two bytes of the
file the symlink pointed to with
ok. This would allow an attacker to corrupt
one file on the machine using Cargo to extract the package.
Disk space exhaustion (CVE-2022-36114)
It was discovered that Cargo did not limit the amount of data extracted from compressed archives. An attacker could upload to an alternate registry a specially crafted package that extracts way more data than its size (also known as a "zip bomb"), exhausting the disk space on the machine using Cargo to download the package.
Both vulnerabilities are present in all versions of Cargo. Rust 1.64, to be released on September 22nd, will include fixes for both of them.
Since these vulnerabilities are just a more limited way to accomplish what a malicious build scripts or procedural macros can do, we decided not to publish Rust point releases backporting the security fix. Patch files for Rust 1.63.0 are available in the wg-security-response repository for people building their own toolchains.
We recommend users of alternate registries to excercise care in which package they download, by only including trusted dependencies in their projects. Please note that even with these vulnerabilities fixed, by design Cargo allows arbitrary code execution at build time thanks to build scripts and procedural macros: a malicious dependency will be able to cause damage regardless of these vulnerabilities.
crates.io implemented server-side checks to reject these kinds of packages years ago, and there are no packages on crates.io exploiting these vulnerabilities. crates.io users still need to excercise care in choosing their dependencies though, as the same concerns about build scripts and procedural macros apply here.
We want to thank Ori Hollander from JFrog Security Research for responsibly disclosing this to us according to the Rust security policy.
We also want to thank Josh Triplett for developing the fixes, Weihang Lo for developing the tests, and Pietro Albini for writing this advisory. The disclosure was coordinated by Pietro Albini and Josh Stone.