Understanding CVE-2021-35937: Protecting Your System from Privilege Escalation

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, staying informed about the latest vulnerabilities and threats is crucial for maintaining system integrity and security. One of the vulnerabilities that has been identified in recent times is CVE-2021-35937, a race condition vulnerability found in the RPM Package Manager (RPM), widely used in Linux distributions like Fedora and CentOS.

What is RPM?

The RPM Package Manager (RPM) is a powerful package management system used by several Linux distributions to handle the installation, updating, and removal of software on their systems. RPM facilitates system administrators and users to manage their software packages efficiently, ensuring that the system runs smoothly without software conflicts.

Vulnerability Details

CVE-2021-35937 is identified with a medium severity rating and a CVSS score of 6.4, posing a substantial threat to data confidentiality, integrity, and system availability. The crux of this vulnerability is a race condition in RPM, which can be exploited by a local unprivileged user. This flaw allows the attacker to bypass specific security checks meant to block privilege escalation, which were initially introduced to counter similar vulnerabilities CVE-2017-7500 and CVE-2017-7501. Successfully exploiting this vulnerability could potentially allow an attacker to gain root privileges on the affected system.

Impact on Users

The exploitation of this vulnerability primarily threatens the security aspects of data confidentiality and integrity along with the overall availability of the system. For organizations and individuals, this could translate to unauthorized access to sensitive data, alteration of critical information, and potential downtimes, all of which could have severe consequences in terms of operational security and compliance requirements.

Protecting Your Systems

To safeguard your systems against CVE-2021-35937, it is advisable to promptly apply patches and updates provided by RPM or your Linux distribution vendors. Regularly updating your system ensures that vulnerabilities are addressed before they can be exploited by malicious entities. Furthermore, employing comprehensive monitoring tools to detect unusual activities that might indicate an attempt to exploit this vulnerability can be an effective strategy.

For wide-spread enterprise environments where managing updates and monitoring numerous systems could be overwhelming, leveraging a sophisticated patch management platform, such as LinuxPatch, could significantly streamline vulnerability management and improve security posture. LinuxPatch offers an array of features designed to ensure that your Linux servers are consistently up-to-date and secure from emerging threats.


In conclusion, while CVE-2021-35937 presents a considerable security challenge, understanding the vulnerability and taking proactive measures can greatly mitigate the risks associated with it. Emphasizing on regular system updates, vigilant monitoring, and utilizing specialized services like LinuxPatch for patch management will equip individuals and organizations with the necessary tools to defend against potential exploits and maintain a secure IT environment.