SuSE Linux Advisory: hypermail
Feb 28, 2003, 01:24 (0 Talkback[s])
SuSE Security Announcement
Date: Thursday, Feb 27th 2003 18:30 MET
Affected products: 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 8.0, 8.1
Vulnerability Type: remote system compromise
Severity (1-10): 4
SuSE default package: no
Cross References: CAN-2003-0025
Content of this advisory:
1) security vulnerability resolved: several bugs after source code
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
Hypermail is a tool to convert a Unix mail-box file to a set of cross-
referenced HTML documents.
During an internal source code review done by Thomas Biege several bugs
where found in hypermail and its tools. These bugs allow remote code
execution, local tmp race conditions, denial-of-service conditions and
read access to files belonging to the host hypermail is running on.
Additionally the mail CGI program can be abused by spammers as email-
relay and should thus be disabled.
There is no temporary fix known other then disabling hypermail. Please
download and install the new packages from our FTP servers.
Please download the update package for your distribution and verify its
integrity by the methods listed in section 3) of this announcement.
Then, install the package using the command "rpm -Fhv file.rpm" to apply
Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages
are being offered to install from the maintenance web.
Intel i386 Platform:
AXP Alpha Platform:
PPC Power PC Platform:
2) Pending vulnerabilities in SuSE Distributions and Workarounds:
VNC (Virtual Network Computing) uses a weak cookie generation process
which can be exploited by an attacker to bypass authentication.
New packages are currently being tested and will be available on our
FTP servers soon.
The textbased web-browser w3m does not properly escape HTML tags.
A malicious HTML page or img alt attribute may lead to information
leakage. New packages will be available soon.
3) standard appendix: authenticity verification, additional information
- Package authenticity verification:
SuSE update packages are available on many mirror ftp servers all over
the world. While this service is being considered valuable and important
to the free and open source software community, many users wish to be
sure about the origin of the package and its content before installing
the package. There are two verification methods that can be used
independently from each other to prove the authenticity of a downloaded
file or rpm package:
1) md5sums as provided in the (cryptographically signed) announcement.
2) using the internal gpg signatures of the rpm package.
1) execute the command
after you downloaded the file from a SuSE ftp server or its mirrors.
Then, compare the resulting md5sum with the one that is listed in the
announcement. Since the announcement containing the checksums is
cryptographically signed (usually using the key firstname.lastname@example.org),
the checksums show proof of the authenticity of the package.
We disrecommend to subscribe to security lists which cause the
email message containing the announcement to be modified so that
the signature does not match after transport through the mailing
Downsides: You must be able to verify the authenticity of the
announcement in the first place. If RPM packages are being rebuilt
and a new version of a package is published on the ftp server, all
md5 sums for the files are useless.
2) rpm package signatures provide an easy way to verify the authenticity
of an rpm package. Use the command
rpm -v --checksig <file.rpm>
to verify the signature of the package, where <file.rpm> is the
filename of the rpm package that you have downloaded. Of course,
package authenticity verification can only target an un-installed rpm
a) gpg is installed
b) The package is signed using a certain key. The public part of this
key must be installed by the gpg program in the directory
~/.gnupg/ under the user's home directory who performs the
signature verification (usually root). You can import the key
that is used by SuSE in rpm packages for SuSE Linux by saving
this announcement to a file ("announcement.txt") and
running the command (do "su -" to be root):
gpg --batch; gpg < announcement.txt | gpg --import
SuSE Linux distributions version 7.1 and thereafter install the
key "email@example.com" upon installation or upgrade, provided that
the package gpg is installed. The file containing the public key
is placed at the top-level directory of the first CD (pubring.gpg)
and at ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/pubring.gpg-build.suse.de .
- 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 announcements 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>.
The <firstname.lastname@example.org> public key is listed below.
The information in this advisory may be distributed or reproduced,
provided that the advisory is not modified in any way. In particular,
it is desired that the clear-text signature shows proof of the
authenticity of the text.
SuSE Linux AG makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever with respect
to the information contained in this security advisory.
Type Bits/KeyID Date User ID
pub 2048R/3D25D3D9 1999-03-06 SuSE Security Team <email@example.com>
pub 1024D/9C800ACA 2000-10-19 SuSE Package Signing Key <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thomas Biege <email@example.com>
SuSE Linux AG,Deutschherrnstr. 15-19,90429 Nuernberg
Function: Security Support & Auditing
"lynx -source http://www.suse.de/~thomas/contact/thomas.asc | gpg --import"
Key fingerprint = 7254 B15D B3C4 943F 485E 0BBD 8ECC D7CB C200 A213
Swimming through the Void
We hear the Words
We lose Ourselves
But we find it All
-- Serj Tankian (Arials Lyrics)