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SuSE Linux Advisory: pam_smb

Sep 03, 2003, 20:23 (0 Talkback[s])

SuSE Security Announcement

Package: pam_smb
Announcement-ID: SuSE-SA:2003:036
Date: Wednesday, Sep 3nd 2003 16:40 MEST
Affected products: 7.2, 7.3, 8.0, 8.1, 8.2
SuSE Linux Database Server,
SuSE eMail Server III, 3.1
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7, 8
SuSE Linux Firewall on CD/Admin host
SuSE Linux Connectivity Server
SuSE Linux Office Server
Vulnerability Type: remote privilege escalation
Severity (1-10): 6
SuSE default package: no
Cross References:  

Content of this advisory:

  1. security vulnerability resolved: buffer overflow problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information
  2. pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds:
    • gdm2
    • whois
    • node
    • postgresql
    • gkrellm
  3. standard appendix (further information)

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

The PAM module (and server) pam_smb allows users of Linux systems to be authenticated by querying an NT server. Dave Airlie <> informed us about a bug in the authentication code of pam_smb that allows a remote attacker to gain access to a system using pam_smb by issuing a too long password string.

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 the update.
Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages are being offered to install from the maintenance web.

Intel i386 Platform:

SuSE-8.2: 77b933d95963020022c0b8ec426b1b33
patch rpm(s): be26f459b855e0eb8a7aeb048966aff2
source rpm(s): f533ca1293f8a70db9d5ad2cc1aca1eb

SuSE-8.1: b12d1f7897319eabaccd3241c40a022a
patch rpm(s): 7bac2fa8229633f5329e51cc4474514f
source rpm(s): 84a8f0156950582354832d9850964829

SuSE-8.0: d340b5e40b5a70ba91613c6328995b32
patch rpm(s): f60ff0bb02f6e5d0346db13075cb819a
source rpm(s): 1bbd9e875b5952dedfe2b5a0754e5619

SuSE-7.3: 7223b46ae84c85e343c9ebbf1b7d93fc
source rpm(s): d98153d86906f0c658fc076c4e7bc2e3

SuSE-7.2: 5e13b0856e21bdfcf5f6b7bd3da6aced
source rpm(s): 21a70e45e84f518f33c0180d145b922f

Sparc Platform:

SuSE-7.3: c6d8dc37b190d80d198565391455547a
source rpm(s): da99ca714612b897b035477aaae5b600

PPC Power PC Platform:

SuSE-7.3: 0287905509e5d134ff9cd07be7aad701
source rpm(s): 55659805dada2721d5d0f5598e3ede27

2) Pending vulnerabilities in SuSE Distributions and Workarounds:

  • gdm2 Due to a bug in GDM it is possible for local users to read any text file on a system by creating a symlink from ~/.xsession-errors. Updated packages will be available on our FTP servers soon.
  • whois The client tool whois is vulnerable to several buffer overflows while processing its command-line arguments. In conjunction with using untrusted data from remote sources as input, like using whois in a CGI script and so on, this buffer overflows may be abused to compromise a system. New whois packages are built and will be released at the usual locations as soon as quality assurance is passed.
  • node The simple hamradio front-end node is vulnerable to buffer overflows and format-string bugs. New packages will be available soon.
  • postgresql The SQL database server postgresql of version 7.3.x prior 7.3.4 is vulnerable to buffer overflow attacks. New packages will be available soon.
  • gkrellm The server component of the gkrellm monitoring package is vulnerable to a buffer overflow. News 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.
  3. execute the command md5sum <name-of-the-file.rpm> 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, 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 list software. 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.
  4. 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 package file. Prerequisites:
    1. gpg is installed
    2. 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 "" 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 .
  • SuSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may subscribe:

  • general/linux/SuSE security discussion. All SuSE 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:

<> or
<> respectively.

SuSE's security contact is <> or <>. The <> 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 uSE Security Team <>
pub 1024D/9C800ACA 2000-10-19 SuSE Package Signing Key <>


Thomas Biege <>


... bring the pieces back together, we discover communication... - Maynard James Keenan