Edward Thomson

Upgrading git for CVE 2017-1000117

August 14, 2017  •  12:11 PM

A security vulnerability in Git has been announced: a bug in URL parsing can cause git clone to execute arbitrary commands. These URLs look quite suspicious, so it's unlikely that you'd be convinced through social engineering to clone them yourself. But they can be hidden in repository submodules.

Unless you're a Continuous Integration build agent, I hope that it's quite uncommon that you git clone --recursive a repository that you do not trust. So this vulnerability is rather uncommon, but as with any security vulnerability that has the possibility of remote code execution, you should upgrade your Git clients immediately.

Git version 2.14.1 is the latest and greatest version of Git, and has been patched. But most people don't actually build from source, so your version of Git is probably provided to you by a distribution. You may have different versions available to you - ones that have had the patches applied by your vendor - so you may not be able to determine if you're vulnerable simply by looking at the version number.

Here's some simple steps to determine whether you're vulnerable and some upgrade instructions if you are.

Are you vulnerable?

You can easily (and safely) check to see if your version of Git is vulnerable to this recent security vulnerable. Run this from a command prompt:

git clone -q ssh://-q/ /tmp/gittest

Note: this will not actually clone any repositories to your system, and it will not execute any dangerous commands.

If you see:

fatal: strange hostname '-q' blocked

Congratulations - you are already running a version of Git that is not vulnerable.

If, instead, you see:

fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

Please make sure you have the correct access rights
and the repository exists.

Then your version of Git is vulnerable and you should upgrade immediately.

Windows

Windows is quite easy to upgrade. Simply grab the newest version of Git for Windows (version 2.14.1) from https://git-for-windows.github.io/.

macOS

Apple ships Git with Xcode but unfortunately, they do not update it regularly, even for security vulnerabilities. As a result, you'll need to upgrade to the version that is included by a 3rd party. Homebrew is the preferred package manager for macOS.

  1. If you have not yet installed Homebrew, you can install it by running:

    /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
    

    at a command prompt.

  2. After that, you can use Homebrew to install git:

    brew install git
    
  3. Add the Homebrew install location (/usr/local) to your PATH.

    echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc
    
  4. Close all open Terminal sessions, quit Terminal.app, and re-open it.

Linux (Debian, Ubuntu)

If you're using the current version of Ubuntu or Debian, then they'll have the latest version ready. If you're on a stable system, like a server, you should be running an LTS release - a "long term support" version - where they backport security patches like this one. So you should simply need to:

  1. Get the latest information about the available software versions from the remote repository:

    Debian, Ubuntu:

    sudo apt-get update
    

    Red Hat, CentOS:

    sudo yum update
    
  2. Install the latest version of git:

    Debian, Ubuntu:

    sudo apt-get install git
    

    Red Hat, CentOS:

    sudo yum update git
    

Ensuring that you're patched

Now if you run:

git clone -q ssh://-q/ /tmp/gittest

at a command prompt, then you should see:

fatal: strange hostname '-q' blocked

And now you're patched against the git security vulnerability, CVE 2017-1000117.