Wine securityflaw.

Francois Gouget fgouget at
Sat Oct 26 21:06:50 CDT 2002

On Sun, 27 Oct 2002, Peter Andersson wrote:
> I believe most wine users trust wine not to touch anything outside of
> its configured drive space. Malicious Linux/Unix syscalls could be embedded
> in windows apps and if executed  do a great deal of damage. After all checking
> your app is run whithin Wine is not that hard (reading registry settings for
> instance). Lets call such an malicious app a wine-virus from  now on.
> At present a wine-virus would even be allowed to fork itself, leaving the wine
> environment and continue to run even after you shutdown the wineserver,  and
> in some cases even after the user logs out. The virus would now have full
> access to the system whithin the users permission, doing much greater
> damage than you expected.
> The question is...Would you expect that damage from running a windows app
> in wine, when you know it could be safely run in Windows?
> In just a few embedded bytes in the code it could remove your home directory
> in a single syscall. Would you expect that? - I wouldnt.
[...more snipped...]

Certainly I would be surprised to see a Wine-aware virus tomorrow. In
that sense I certainly would not expect this sort of thing to happen
tomorrow. But you seem to be confused about the goal of Wine.

The goal of Wine is to run Windows applications on Unix. Windows
applications run through Wine should be able to do no more and no less
than any other Linux application. Thus Wine is not more of a security
risk than any other piece of (somewhat alpha) software.

But the goal of Wine is *not* to build a sandbox or a virtual machine in
which you can safely run malicious code. If that is what you want, then
you should look at chroot, jail, User Mode Linux, VMWare or Plex86. You
can even combine them with Wine to build sandboxes. For instance you
could run Wine in a 'jail' environment and then a Wine-aware would be
confined to that environment.

That being said, yes it is possible to configure Wine such that Windows
applications are confined to a small portion of your disk. It is a
useful feature and, as far as I know, it should work against all current
Windows viruses. Of course, when configured this way Wine is not very
useable. You would not be able to use Word to edit your documents for
instance... that is unless you menually copy the document to the Wine
environment where any Windows virus will be able to munge it. You simply
cannot have it both ways.

Francois Gouget         fgouget at
                  Hiroshima '45 - Czernobyl '86 - Windows '95

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