El Viernes pasado se anunciaron, en la lista de seguridad de debian, actualizaciones para el kernel, que solucionaba varias vulnerabilidades.

CVE-2009-0028

    Chris Evans discovered a situation in which a child process can
    send an arbitrary signal to its parent.

CVE-2009-0834

    Roland McGrath discovered an issue on amd64 kernels that allows
    local users to circumvent system call audit configurations which
    filter based on the syscall numbers or argument details.

CVE-2009-0835

    Roland McGrath discovered an issue on amd64 kernels with
    CONFIG_SECCOMP enabled. By making a specially crafted syscall,
    local users can bypass access restrictions.

CVE-2009-0859

    Jiri Olsa discovered that a local user can cause a denial of
    service (system hang) using a SHM_INFO shmctl call on kernels
    compiled with CONFIG_SHMEM disabled. This issue does not affect
    prebuilt Debian kernels.

CVE-2009-1046

    Mikulas Patocka reported an issue in the console subsystem that
    allows a local user to cause memory corruption by selecting a
    small number of 3-byte UTF-8 characters.

CVE-2009-1072

    Igor Zhbanov reported that nfsd was not properly dropping
    CAP_MKNOD, allowing users to create device nodes on file systems
    exported with root_squash.

CVE-2009-1184

    Dan Carpenter reported a coding issue in the selinux subsystem
    that allows local users to bypass certain networking checks when
    running with compat_net=1.

CVE-2009-1192

    Shaohua Li reported an issue in the AGP subsystem they may allow
    local users to read sensitive kernel memory due to a leak of
    uninitialized memory.

CVE-2009-1242

    Benjamin Gilbert reported a local denial of service vulnerability
    in the KVM VMX implementation that allows local users to trigger
    an oops.

CVE-2009-1265

    Thomas Pollet reported an overflow in the af_rose implementation
    that allows remote attackers to retrieve uninitialized kernel
    memory that may contain sensitive data.

CVE-2009-1337

    Oleg Nesterov discovered an issue in the exit_notify function that
    allows local users to send an arbitrary signal to a process by
    running a program that modifies the exit_signal field and then
    uses an exec system call to launch a setuid application.

CVE-2009-1338

    Daniel Hokka Zakrisson discovered that a kill(-1) is permitted to
    reach processes outside of the current process namespace.

CVE-2009-1439

    Pavan Naregundi reported an issue in the CIFS filesystem code that
    allows remote users to overwrite memory via a long
    nativeFileSystem field in a Tree Connect response during mount.

Se publicaron dos exploits para explotar vulnerabildades de escalacion de provilegios local. Estos exploits se aprovechan de la funcion ptrace_attach() para ejecutar un codigo arbitrario que nos permita ejecutar una shell del tipo /bin/sh como root.
El primer exploit es el shoryuken, lo probé en distintas versiones del kernel de debian y archlinux, pudiendo ser explotada solo la version 2.6.26-1-686 de Debian 5.0, de forma aleatoria, es decir, hay veces que ejecuto el exploit y funciona y otras veces no. El segundo script fue probado por su autor en la version del kernel 2.6.29rc1 de Gentoo.
Estos exploits funcionan bajo situaciones especificas y no todos los sistemas son vulnerables.