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SuSE Security Announcement: cron-3.0

May 15, 2001, 23:30 (0 Talkback[s])
From:   Sebastian Krahmer 
To:     suse-security-announce@suse.de
Subject:        [suse-security-announce] SuSE Security Announcement: cron
Date:   15 May 2001 14:48:41 +0200


                        SuSE Security Announcement

        Package:                cron-3.0.1-296
        Announcement-ID:        SuSE-SA:2001:17
        Date:                   Tuesday, May 15th, 2001 14:30:00 CEST
        Affected SuSE versions: 7.1
        Vulnerability Type:     local privilege escalation
        Severity (1-10):        7
        SuSE default package:   yes
        Other affected systems: All UN*X systems using this package

    Content of this advisory:
        1) security vulnerability resolved: crontab
           problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information
        2) pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds
        3) standard appendix (further information)


1)  problem description, brief discussion, solution, upgrade information

    The crontab program is running setuser-id root and invokes the editor
    specified in the EDITOR environment variable, usually vi.
    If crontab discovers that the format of the edited file is incorrect, it
    executes the editor again but fails to drop its root privileges before.
    Therefore it is possible to execute arbitrary commands as root.
    Sebastian Krahmer has found the bug. It has been fixed by properly dropping
    the privileges before executing the editor.

    A possible temporary workaround is to remove the suid bit of the
    /usr/bin/crontab program: chmod -s /usr/bin/crontab.
    If you change the mode, you should also do so in the files
    /etc/permissions*. A permanent solution for the problem is to update the
    cron package from our ftp server.

    Download the update package from locations desribed below and install
    the package with the command `rpm -Uhv file.rpm'. The md5sum for each
    file is in the line below. You can verify the integrity of the rpm
    files using the command
        `rpm --checksig --nogpg file.rpm',
    independently from the md5 signatures below.

    i386 Intel Platform:

    source rpm:

    Sparc Platform:

    source rpm:

    AXP Alpha Platform:

    The SuSE-7.1 AXP-Alpha Edition does not suffer from this problem.

    PPC Power PC Platform:

    source rpm:


2)  Pending vulnerabilities in SuSE Distributions and Workarounds:

    - The man program running setuser-id 'man' suffers from format string and
      bufferoverflow bugs. Updates are currently being built.


3)  standard appendix:

    SuSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may

        -   general/linux/SuSE security discussion.
            All SuSE security announcements are sent to this list.
            To subscribe, send an email to

        -   SuSE's announce-only mailing list.
            Only SuSE's security annoucements are sent to this list.
            To subscribe, send an email to

    For general information or the frequently asked questions (faq)
    send mail to:

    SuSE's security contact is .

Sebastian Krahmer


    The information in this advisory may be distributed or reproduced,
    provided that the advisory is not modified in any way.
    SuSE GmbH makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever with respect
    to the information contained in this security advisory.