Contextual Code Execution in nuitka/nuitka


Reported on

Jun 4th 2022


The main() function uses the eval() function which can lead to contextual code execution, allowing an attacker to gain access to a system and execute commands with the privileges of the running program by setting NUITKA_PYTHONPATH, NUITKA_NAMESPACES or NUITKA_PTH_IMPORTED to a malicious payload string. This can lead to backdoors, reverse shells or reading/writing to privileged files.

One example of a similar vulnerability is CVE-2022-0845 in the popular pytorch-lightning repository. [See References]

Proof of Concept

  • Set malicious payload
$ export NUITKA_PYTHONPATH='os.system("touch rickroll")'
  • Run nuitka/
  • Code gets executed!
$ ls rickroll


This vulnerability is capable of executing code on the target system in the context of the user running the program. This can allow an attacker to gain access to systems, read/write malicious files, etc


A safe for patching the said vulnerability while preserving it's functionality would be to manually parse the environment variable and iterating over it to resolve the value of sys.path


sys.path = eval(os.environ["NUITKA_PYTHONPATH"])
We are processing your report and will contact the nuitka team within 24 hours. 22 days ago
whokilleddb modified the report
22 days ago
We have contacted a member of the nuitka team and are waiting to hear back 21 days ago
We have sent a follow up to the nuitka team. We will try again in 7 days. 18 days ago
nuitka/nuitka maintainer
17 days ago

I acknowledge the issue. I do not have an immediate fix. I guess using e.g. JSON dumps would be safe?

17 days ago


Well, yes, that could be safe. Also, what type of data do these fields contain? If it's booleans or numbers(integers/floats) you can use ast.literal_eval. If you can give me a general idea about the nature and type of data, I can try to come up with a fix. Thank You 😃

nuitka/nuitka maintainer
16 days ago

I have made a change for factory where I replaced all usages in Nuitka that are expecting to work on literals with ast.literal_eval which is a shame I didn't know exists. It will be in the 0.9 release, I do not plan any hotfixes for 0.8 right now being on holiday, i.e. less infrastructure.

Not sure what actions to take, or if I should make this a thing in the changelog, or how to credit you in the commit or changelog. I welcome suggestions. Trying to be a good upstream here.

nuitka/nuitka maintainer
16 days ago

I just saw there is a fix bounty, in my mind pointing out that function should mean you get that.

16 days ago


I'm just happy to help secure a repository I have been so intrigued by in the past. As for any credits, I believe @admin can assign this bug a CVE and that will be really helpful for users and organizations using the repository alike.

Thank you for maintaining and developing such an amazing project 😃

Jamie Slome
16 days ago


@whokilleddb - if you submit a fix using the controls on this report page, the maintainer will be able to credit you with finding and fixing the issue.

@maintainer - if you think this is a legitimate vulnerability, I encourage you to resolve this as valid using the Resolve button below 👇 👇 👇

Once you have a commit SHA for the fix, you can confirm the fix against the report as well. This will make the report public and publish a CVE for the report.

nuitka/nuitka maintainer validated this vulnerability 13 days ago
whokilleddb has been awarded the disclosure bounty
The fix bounty is now up for grabs
The researcher's credibility has increased: +7
nuitka/nuitka maintainer confirmed that a fix has been merged on 096477 13 days ago
The fix bounty has been dropped has been validated has been validated has been validated
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