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A Request to Security Researchers from illumos

A Gentle Reminder About illumos

A very bad security vulnerability in Solaris was patched-and-announced by Oracle earlier this week. Turns out, we in open-source-descendant illumos had something in the same neighborhood. We can’t confirm it’s the same bug because reverse-engineering Oracle Solaris is off the table.

In general if a vulnerability is an old one in Solaris, there’s a good chance it’s also in illumos. Alex Wilson said it best in this recent tweet:

If you want to see the full history, the first 11 minutes of my talk from 2016’s FOSDEM contains WHY a sufficiently old vulnerability in Solaris 10 and even Solaris 11 may also be in illumos.

Remember folks, Solaris is closed-source under Oracle, even though it used to be open-source during the last years of Sun’s existence. illumos is open-source, related, but NOT the same as Solaris anymore. Another suggested talk covers this rather well, especially if you start at the right part.

The Actual Request

Because of this history and shared heritage, if you’re a security researcher, PLEASE make sure you find one of many illumos distributions, install it, and try your proof-of-concept on that as well. If you find the same vulnerability in illumos, please report it to us via the mailing alias. We have a PGP key too!

Thank you, and please test your Solaris exploits on illumos too (and vice-versa).


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