Kernel Race Condition in packet_set_ring leading to use-after-free - CVE-2016-8655

Solution In Progress - Updated -


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7
  • Red Hat Enterprise MRG 2


Red Hat Product Security has been made aware of a vulnerability in the Linux kernel that has been assigned CVE-2016-8655. This issue was publicly disclosed on December 6th, 2016 and has been rated as Important.

A race condition issue leading to a use-after-free flaw was found in the way the raw packet sockets implementation in the Linux kernel networking subsystem handled synchronization while creating the TPACKET_V3 ring buffer. A local user able to open a raw packet socket (requires the CAP_NET_RAW capability) could use this flaw to elevate their privileges on the system.


This issue does affect Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Enterprise MRG 2, but not in their default configurations. Future updates for the respective releases may address this issue. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 are not affected by this issue.

Root Cause

In order to exploit this issue the attacker needs CAP_NET_RAW capability, which needs to be granted by the administrator to the attacker's account. Since Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 does not have unprivileged user namespaces enabled by default, local unprivileged users also cannot abuse namespaces to grant this capability to themselves and elevate their privileges.

Diagnostic Steps

TPACKET_V3 is part of PACKET socket interface for the Linux kernel. It is used in several capacities:

  • For packet capturing network traffic with utilities like tcpdump
  • Injecting network traffic
  • Anything that needs raw access to the network interface

  • To check to see what the current settings run the following command

    # getcap /usr/bin/* /usr/sbin/* | grep -i cap_net_raw
  • A default RHEL7 system should report back:

    /usr/bin/ping = cap_net_admin,cap_net_raw+p
    /usr/sbin/arping = cap_net_raw+p
    /usr/sbin/clockdiff = cap_net_raw+p
    /usr/sbin/dumpcap = cap_net_admin,cap_net_raw+ep
    /usr/sbin/fping = cap_net_raw+ep
    /usr/sbin/fping6 = cap_net_raw+ep
    /usr/sbin/mtr = cap_net_raw+ep

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