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[SECURITY PATCH 116/117] templates: Disable the os-prober by default

From: Daniel Kiper
Subject: [SECURITY PATCH 116/117] templates: Disable the os-prober by default
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2021 19:02:03 +0100

From: Alex Burmashev <>

The os-prober is enabled by default what may lead to potentially
dangerous use cases and borderline opening attack vectors. This
patch disables the os-prober, adds warning messages and updates
GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER configuration option documentation. This
way we make it clear that the os-prober usage is not recommended.

Simplistic nature of this change allows downstream vendors, who
really want os-prober to be enabled out of the box in their
relevant products, easily revert to it's old behavior.

Reported-by: NyankoSec (<>,,
             working with SSD Secure Disclosure
Signed-off-by: Alex Burmashev <>
Reviewed-by: Daniel Kiper <>
 docs/grub.texi              | 18 ++++++++++--------
 util/grub.d/ |  5 ++++-
 2 files changed, 14 insertions(+), 9 deletions(-)

diff --git a/docs/grub.texi b/docs/grub.texi
index 2f2ae2228..cb5fe6e08 100644
--- a/docs/grub.texi
+++ b/docs/grub.texi
@@ -1519,10 +1519,13 @@ boot sequence.  If you have problems, set this option 
to @samp{text} and
 GRUB will tell Linux to boot in normal text mode.
-Normally, @command{grub-mkconfig} will try to use the external
-@command{os-prober} program, if installed, to discover other operating
-systems installed on the same system and generate appropriate menu entries
-for them.  Set this option to @samp{true} to disable this.
+The @command{grub-mkconfig} has a feature to use the external
+@command{os-prober} program to discover other operating systems installed on
+the same machine and generate appropriate menu entries for them. It is disabled
+by default since automatic and silent execution of @command{os-prober}, and
+creating boot entries based on that data, is a potential attack vector. Set
+this option to @samp{false} to enable this feature in the
+@command{grub-mkconfig} command.
 List of space-separated FS UUIDs of filesystems to be ignored from os-prober
@@ -1850,10 +1853,9 @@ than zero; otherwise 0.
 @section Multi-boot manual config
 Currently autogenerating config files for multi-boot environments depends on
-os-prober and has several shortcomings. While fixing it is scheduled for the
-next release, meanwhile you can make use of the power of GRUB syntax and do it
-yourself. A possible configuration is detailed here, feel free to adjust to 
+os-prober and has several shortcomings. Due to that it is disabled by default.
+It is advised to use the power of GRUB syntax and do it yourself. A possible
+configuration is detailed here, feel free to adjust to your needs.
 First create a separate GRUB partition, big enough to hold GRUB. Some of the
 following entries show how to load OS installer images from this same 
diff --git a/util/grub.d/ b/util/grub.d/
index 1b91c102f..80685b15f 100644
--- a/util/grub.d/
+++ b/util/grub.d/
@@ -26,7 +26,8 @@ export TEXTDOMAINDIR="@localedir@"
 . "$pkgdatadir/grub-mkconfig_lib"
-if [ "x${GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER}" = "xtrue" ]; then
+if [ "x${GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER}" = "xfalse" ]; then
+  gettext_printf "os-prober will not be executed to detect other bootable 
partitions.\nSystems on them will not be added to the GRUB boot 
configuration.\nCheck GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER documentation entry.\n"
   exit 0
@@ -39,6 +40,8 @@ OSPROBED="`os-prober | tr ' ' '^' | paste -s -d ' '`"
 if [ -z "${OSPROBED}" ] ; then
   # empty os-prober output, nothing doing
   exit 0
+  grub_warn "$(gettext_printf "os-prober was executed to detect other bootable 
partitions.\nIt's output will be used to detect bootable binaries on them and 
create new boot entries.")"
 osx_entry() {

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