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ee -- temporary file privilege escalation


Problem description

The ispell_op function used by ee(1) while executing spell check operations employs an insecure method of temporary file generation. This method produces predictable file names based on the process ID and fails to confirm which path will be over written with the user.
It should be noted that ispell does not have to be installed in order for this to be exploited. The option simply needs to be selected.


These predictable temporary file names are problematic because they allow an attacker to take advantage of a race condition in order to execute a symlink attack, which could allow them to overwrite files on the system in the context of the user running the ee(1) editor.


Instead of invoking ispell through ee(1), invoke it directly.



portaudit: ee -- temporary file privilege escalation

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Oliver Eikemeier <>