No versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) are affected by this CVE.

Updated March 30, 2024: We have determined that Fedora Linux 40 beta does contain two affected versions of xz libraries - xz-libs-5.6.0-1.fc40.x86_64.rpm and xz-libs-5.6.0-2.fc40.x86_64.rpm. At this time, Fedora 40 Linux does not appear to be affected by the actual malware exploit, but we encourage all Fedora 40 Linux beta users to revert to 5.4.x versions.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to more clearly articulate the affected versions of Fedora Linux and add additional mitigation methods.

Yesterday, Red Hat Information Risk and Security and Red Hat Product Security learned that the latest versions of the “xz” tools and libraries contain malicious code that appears to be intended to allow unauthorized access. Specifically, this code is present in versions 5.6.0 and 5.6.1 of the libraries. Fedora Linux 40 users may have received version 5.6.0, depending on the timing of system updates. Fedora Rawhide users may have received version 5.6.0 or 5.6.1. This vulnerability was assigned CVE-2024-3094.

PLEASE IMMEDIATELY STOP USAGE OF ANY FEDORA RAWHIDE INSTANCES for work or personal activity. Fedora Rawhide will be reverted to xz-5.4.x shortly, and once that is done, Fedora Rawhide instances can safely be redeployed. Note that Fedora Rawhide is the development distribution of Fedora Linux, and serves as the basis for future Fedora Linux builds (in this case, the yet-to-be-released Fedora Linux 41).

At this time the Fedora Linux 40 builds have not been shown to be compromised. We believe the malicious code injection did not take effect in these builds. However, Fedora Linux 40 users should still downgrade to a 5.4 build to be safe. An update that reverts xz to 5.4.x has recently been published and is becoming available to Fedora Linux 40 users through the normal update system. Concerned users can force the update by following the instructions at https://bodhi.fedoraproject.org/updates/FEDORA-2024-d02c7bb266.

Updated March 30, 2024: We have determined that Fedora Linux 40 beta does contain two affected versions of xz libraries - xz-libs-5.6.0-1.fc40.x86_64.rpm and xz-libs-5.6.0-2.fc40.x86_64.rpm. At this time, Fedora 40 Linux does not appear to be affected by the actual malware exploit, but we encourage all Fedora 40 Linux beta users to revert to 5.4.x versions.

What is xz?

xz is a general purpose data compression format present in nearly every Linux distribution, both community projects and commercial product distributions. Essentially, it helps compress (and then decompress) large file formats into smaller, more manageable sizes for sharing via file transfers.

What is the malicious code?

The malicious injection present in the xz versions 5.6.0 and 5.6.1 libraries is obfuscated and only included in full in the download package - the Git distribution lacks the M4 macro that triggers the build of the malicious code. The second-stage artifacts are present in the Git repository for the injection during the build time, in case the malicious M4 macro is present.

The resulting malicious build interferes with authentication in sshd via systemd.  SSH is a commonly used protocol for connecting remotely to systems, and sshd is the service that allows access.  Under the right circumstances this interference could potentially enable a malicious actor to break sshd authentication and gain unauthorized access to the entire system remotely.

What distributions are affected by this malicious code?

Current investigation indicates that the packages are only present in Fedora 40 and Fedora Rawhide within the Red Hat community ecosystem.

We have reports and evidence of the injections successfully building in xz 5.6.x versions built for Debian unstable (Sid). Other distributions may also be affected. Users of other distributions should consult with their distributors for guidance.

What should I do if I am running an affected distribution?

For both personal and business activities, immediately stop using Fedora 40 or Fedora Rawhide until you can downgrade your xz version. If you are using an affected distribution in a business setting, we encourage you to contact your information security team for next steps.

Additionally, for those running openSUSE distributions, SUSE has published a downgrade procedure at https://build.opensuse.org/request/show/1163302.