Ksh (ksh93) Can Lead to a Fork Bomb and Make the System Unresponsive
Last updated on JULY 10, 2018
Applies to:Solaris Operating System - Version 11.1 and later
Information in this document applies to any platform.
A system running Solaris 11.x can be affected by this. Should it happen, it behaves with a typical fork bomb exposure:
- The number of processes is rapidly increasing; this could be reported by monitoring software.
- The system responds slowly and later on stops responding at all.
- No possibility to log in, neither on the console nor via network (e.g. via ssh).
A kernel crash dump can be created in that situation by sending a break signal. The crash dump will then show that a ksh shell has one ksh child, and that child has one ksh child and so on:
Note that this tree has many more entries with exactly one ksh child on each level of that sub tree.
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