Knowledgebase: Announcements
Dirty COW Linux Vulnerability
Posted by on 24 October 2016 08:21 PM


A privilege escalation vulnerability being branded as “Dirty Cow” (CVE-2016-5195) was recently discovered and fixed yesterday in the Linux Kernel. It has existed for 11 years, so pretty much every device running Linux is affected (this includes VMs, physical machines, mobile devices, and so on) and, in general, distros from every vendor are affected. Fortunately, most major distributions have already released a fix. However, if you're running an older server, you can follow this tutorial to check and patch your server.

Detect if you are  vulnerable !


To find out if your server is affected, check your kernel version.
$ uname -rv

You'll see output like this:
4.4.0-42-generic #62-Ubuntu SMP Fri Oct 7 23:11:45 UTC 2016


If your version is earlier than the following, you are affected:
4.8.0-26.28 for Ubuntu 16.10
4.4.0-45.66 for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
3.13.0-100.147 for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
3.2.0-113.155 for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
3.16.36-1+deb8u2 for Debian 8
3.2.82-1 for Debian 7

4.7.8-1 for Debian unstable



If you're on CentOS, you can use this script provided by RedHat to test your server's vulnerability. To do so, first download the script.

Then run it with bash.

If you're vulnerable, you'll see output like this:
Your kernel is 3.10.0-327.36.1.el7.x86_64 which IS vulnerable.


How to fix the Vulnerability

Fortunately, applying the fix is straightforward: update your system and reboot your server.


Update and upgrade your packages using apt-get.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

You'll need to reboot your server to apply the changes.
sudo reboot



At this time, we're still waiting for Red Hat to release a patched kernel. This tutorial will be updated with instructions on how to secure your CentOS server as soon as possible. In the interim, you can use this workaround 

As always, there are subtleties and potential defenses and configurations which may make this a non-issue for your specific situation, so we’ll leave the assessment up to you – but our general advice is to upgrade your kernels and reboot as soon as possible.

For the curious, here’s the patch from Linus Torvalds.


An update is now available for fixing this vulnerability by updating the Linux kernel.


UPDATE - 28 October 2016


CentOS has released patched kernel for CentOS 6 and CentOS 7.

You can either initiate a full yum update:

yum update


Alternatively, just update the kernel packages:

yum update "kernel-*"


As this update has just been released, your preferred CentOS yum mirror may not have been update yet. In this case. you may need to wait a few hours for the update to become available. Cached repo data can also prevent new updates from being found. To clear your yum cache, run:

yum clean all