OpenSSH Vulnerability: regreSSHion (CVE-2024-6387), Remote Code Execution (RCE)

·3 min·Andreas Haerter·

Long story short: Update your OpenSSH packages today, no matter what. The original Security Advisory by Qualsys is worth a read and not to complicated to follow if you are interested in a bit of background information. A bit of a problem might be that this bug dropped literally the day after CentOS 8 and FreeBSD 13.2 went out of support (even though both seem to be unaffected).


If there are old boxes, make sure you apply proper firewalling to mitigate the issue. It seems that a exploit might need a lot of login tries on average to be successful without further optimizations. This might buy you a bit of time to patch everything today, even if the box was exposed to the public internet. Additionally, the exploit was only shown for 32-bit systems yet. There is a high probability that a yet-to-come exploit for 64-bit systems will be slower (=more login attempts needed on average for a successful hack).

If you cannot upgrade your system yet, the FreeBSD security advisory states that setting LoginGraceTime to 0 might help:

If sshd(8) cannot be updated, this signal handler race condition can be mitigated by setting LoginGraceTime to 0 in /etc/ssh/sshd_config and restarting sshd(8). This makes sshd(8) vulnerable to a denial of service (the exhaustion of all MaxStartups connections), but makes it safe from the remote code execution presented in this advisory.

Systems known to be affected

The list is probably incomplete and will be updated as more confirmations are obtained. Do not forget to restart the sshd service (for example, it seems that there are otherwise issues with key exchange on Arch Linux).

Propably unaffected systems

Even if your systems seem to be not affected in general: Update. Now. There will be a lot of research about this vulnerability and maybe new ways to exploit it will be discovered.

Currently not affected are:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6, 7 und 81 (and therefore probably all related CentOS versions)
  • Debian 11 Bullseye2
  • FreeBSD3
  • OpenBSD4

Additional links and reports:

  1. From the Red Hat: CVE-2024-6387 advisory: “This flaw doesn’t affect the OpenSSH versions as shipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, 7 and 8 as the vulnerability was introduced by a regression in upstream on OpenSSH 8.5p1 which is newer then shipped with the mentioned Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions.” ↩︎

  2. See↩︎

  3. See Unclear situation but not glibc based and the syslog code looks as if it doesn’t do anything that corrupts the state if called from a signal handler. Patch in doubt. ↩︎

  4. From the Qualsys advisory: “OpenBSD is notably not vulnerable, because its SIGALRM handler calls syslog_r(), an async-signal-safer version of syslog() that was invented by OpenBSD in 2001.” Additionally, not glibc based. ↩︎