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Title:       EGI SVG 'ADVISORY'  Singularity File Permission Vulnerability [EGI-SVG-CVE-2019-19724]  

Date:        2019-12-19

Affected software and risk

Vulnerability concerning Singularity

Package : Singularity
CVE     : CVE-2019-19724

A file permission issue has been found in Singularity, in which $HOME/.singularity is created mode 777 in some circumstances. [R 1] This may allow anyone with login access to the host to modify container images and have malicious container images executed on behalf of affected users.   

Actions required/recommended

Sites running Singularity should check the current installation of Singularity.   

Ideally all sites should update to release 3.5.2. 

If this is not practical in the short term, the checks/actions below may be sufficient.

Check/actions on current installation

Check which version of Singularity is currently installed, if any.

If the version is NOT between 3.3.0 and 3.5.1 then the system is not vulnerable. 

Check the permission on .singularity directories, for example like this:

    find /home/*/.singularity -maxdepth 0 -perm -777 -ls
If any are mode 777 then further checks should be carried out.
See whether there are any entries below them owned by another user.

If so, the directory would have been tampered with. In such a case, besides a cleanup of the given directory, 
any copies of potentially affected images might have to be removed.

Set the permission to 700 on all affected '.singularity' directories.

As new users could still run any affected Singularity version later (in unprivileged mode), this recipe will 
only catch existing cases, if any.

For more information see the OSG information below. 

Component installation information

The latest release may be installed from GitHub [R 1]

The fixed version of Singularity is NOT yet in EPEL [R 2] 

Affected software details

This is fixed in singularity version 3.5.2.

Singularity Versions from 3.3.0 to 3.5.1 contain this vulnerability.

Other information

While some LHC experiments and possibly other VOs prefer using Singularity from CVMFS in their grid jobs, 
there may still be many sites with local installation for various reasons.  Here we are less concerned with 
Worker Nodes, but more with shared login hosts on which users can build their own images.
For more information see the OSG information below. 

OSG information

A publicly announced vulnerability in singularity can leave the $HOME/.singularity directory open to tampering 
by other people with login access.  For people who build container images this can result in the possibility of 
a malicious person modifying the contents of those container images.  
The OSG security team judges this vulnerability to be of moderate impact.


singularity-3.3.0 through 3.5.1


When creating the $HOME/.singularity directory, singularity-3.3.0 through 3.5.1 sets the permissions on the 
directory to mode 777.  Singularity keeps caches of docker layers and other things in subdirectories of that
 directory, so it is possible for someone with login access to the same system to modify those caches and for 
the modified contents to make it into another container image the owner of the directory makes later.  
 People who used an older version of singularity earlier are not affected because $HOME/.singularity would have 
been created with correct permissions.  People whose home directories are not searchable by others 
(e.g. mode 700) are also not vulnerable.


System administrators that have a vulnerable version of singularity installed, have users that build singularity 
images, and have open home directory permissions should remove any group and other write permission from the users' 
$HOME/.singularity directories, and upgrade to singularity-3.5.2 when it becomes available.  Since subdirectories 
and files are created with correct permissions, if any tampering had been done it should be evident because there 
would be directories and files owned by someone else. For example, someone could rename the cache subdirectory 
and create a new one.



** WHITE information - Limited distribution 
  - see for distribution restrictions **  


Minor updates may be made without re-distribution to the sites


Comments or questions should be sent to svg-rat  at

If you find or become aware of another vulnerability which is relevant to EGI you may report it by e-mail to  

report-vulnerability at

the EGI Software Vulnerability Group will take a look according to the procedure defined in [R 3]  

Note that this is undergoing revision to fully handle vulnerabilities in the EOSC-hub era. 


[R 1]

[R 2]

[R 3]


SVG was alerted to this vulnerability by Dave Dykstra (FNAL & OSG)

Yyyy-mm-dd  [EGI-SVG-2019-CVE-2019-19724] 

2019-12-17 SVG alerted to this issue by Dave Dykstra 
2019-12-17 Acknowledgement from the EGI SVG to the reporter
2019-12-17 Issue fixed in GitHub by Singularity team
2019-12-19 Advisory sent to sites


This advisory has been prepared as part of the effort to fulfil EGI SVG's purpose 
"To minimize the risk to the EGI infrastructure arising from software vulnerabilities"

The risk is that assessed by the group, according to the EGI SVG issue handling procedure [R 3]  in the context of 
how the software is used in the EGI infrastructure. It is the opinion of the group, we do not guarantee it to be 
correct. The risk may also be higher or lower in other deployments depending on how the software is used.   

Others may re-use this information provided they:-

1) Respect the provided TLP classification

2) Credit the EGI Software Vulnerability Group

Note that the SVG issue handling procedure is currently under review, to take account of the increasing 
inhomogeneity of the EGI infrastructure and the services in the EOSC-hub catalogue.

On behalf of the EGI SVG,