A vulnerability discovered in the runC container management tool has exposed multiple privileged container systems to a potential exploit through which attackers could allow malware to escape a container and compromise an entire host system.

Designated CVE-2019-5736, the flaw allows attackers to use a malicious container to overwrite the host runC binary during the execution a command as root, thereby granting themselves root access to the host. This works under two scenarios: when using a new container with an attacker-controlled image or when attaching into an existing container to which the attackers previously had write access.

Aleksa Sarai, a long-time contributor to the Open Container Initiative (OCI), which develops runC, acknowledged the flaw in a Tuesday post on Openwall.com, noting that OCI has already issued a patch, and will release exploit code on Feb. 18 to help container vendors ensure that these fixes will resolve the issue.

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