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Re: Bash is incorrectly and inconsistently expanding tilde in $PATH

From: Greg Wooledge
Subject: Re: Bash is incorrectly and inconsistently expanding tilde in $PATH
Date: Thu, 4 May 2017 11:01:39 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/

On Thu, May 04, 2017 at 09:54:07AM -0500, Eduardo Bustamante wrote:
> Also, I think it's a bit of a stretch to call this a security problem.
> The scenario you describe (a user having a directory literally named
> `~' with a bin subdirectory, a malicious program creating evil
> binaries in $HOME/bin,  the user having a misconfigured PATH, ...) is
> highly unlikely.

Without taking a side on whether this is a security bug in bash, I will
support the idea that users who put ~/bin (or similar) in PATH should
be educated to make sure the ~ is expanded, rather than literal.  This
will protect them even if bash gets patched, because most of them will
still be using an older/unpatched version.

I will also point out that bash expands ~ in PATH assignments such as
PATH=~/bin:$PATH or even PATH=$PATH:~/bin:/other/bin.  So, it really does
take a bit of work to get a literal ~ into PATH in bash, and users
should be discouraged from doing that extra, self-harming work.

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