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SUSE Linux Advisory: gaim

Jan 30, 2004, 16:59 (0 Talkback[s])

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SUSE Security Announcement

Package: gaim
Announcement-ID: SuSE-SA:2004:004
Date: Thursday, Jan 29th 2004 10:30 MET
Affected products: 8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 9.0 SuSE Linux Desktop 1.0
Vulnerability Type: remote system compromise
Severity (1-10): 5
SUSE default package: no
Cross References:  

Content of this advisory:

  1. security vulnerability resolved:
    • two buffer overflows problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information
  2. pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds:
    • kernel binaries for SLES8 AMD64
    • mc
    • mod_gzip
    • tripwire
    • XDM (XFree86, xf86)
    • 3ddiag
    • mod_auth_shadow
    • cvsup
    • nmap
    • netpbm
    • zebra
    • quagga
    • tcpdump
    • mod_python
  3. standard appendix (further information)

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

Gaim is a multi-protocol instant-messaging client. Stefan Esser found 12 vulnerabilities in gaim that can lead to a remote system compromise with the privileges of the user running GAIM. The GAIM package that SUSE LINUX ships is affected by just two of these bug:

  • Yahoo Packet Parser Overflow
  • HTTP Proxy Connect Overflow

The first vulnerability is easy to exploit and results in a classic stack overflow which can be used to execute arbitrary code. The latter vulnerability requires the gaim client use a HTTP proxy under the control of the attacker. The exploitation of this bug results in arbitrary code execution too.

There is no known workaround.

Please download the update package for your distribution and verify its integrity by the methods listed in section 3) of this announcement. Then, to apply the update use the command "rpm -Fhv file.rpm". Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages are being offered to install from the maintenance web.

Intel i386 Platform:

SuSE-9.0: 09f8d12dd52e246cf32dca8ad3374f39
patch rpm(s): 3a633e341b9e56facdbe0250b55dd33a
source rpm(s): 5ee6a86077c0297a64815532782f7a54

SuSE-8.2: 7a269744304f72bf951c7bd6974560f2
patch rpm(s): e7b18f0da02c1c4392dc1b03e835a827
source rpm(s): ae7d7b1c9735696244547a0d6a5ee92e

SuSE-8.1: 22b1d4be5737906f8ff0975918279034
patch rpm(s): 7644020869e92cc980b881efebf9d617
source rpm(s): cd1532f71a79ed32d016d456a844ff4b

SuSE-8.0: 7dcb581b78bf8ab61e82bf0836a4357e
patch rpm(s): 5a6f596538edc56e0b3a70a23200c21e
source rpm(s): d38c8da629941eecef7f75d6a5ea9e80

2) Pending vulnerabilities in SUSE Distributions and Workarounds:

  • kernel binaries for SLES8 AMD64 Due to a human failure the kernel binaries of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 for AMD64 lack the fix described in SuSE-SA:2004:003. The kernel-source packages and the packages for IA64 are not affected. New packages are available at our maintenance-web.
  • mc By using a special combination of links in archive files it is possible to execute arbitrary commands while mc tries to open it in its VFS. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • mod_gzip (apache-contrib) The apache module mod_gzip is vulnerable to remote code execution while running in debug-mode. We do not ship this module in debug-mode but future versions will include the fix. Additionally the mod_gzip code was audited to fix more possibly security related bugs. After more testing a new apache-contrib RPM package will be released.
  • tripwire Tripwire is a file integrity checker. The version of tripwire included with SuSE Linux 9.0 crashs when a requested file does not exists. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • XDM (XFree86, xf86) A missing check for failure conditions in the PAM code of XDM can lead to local root access in conjunction with Kerberos or other authentication methods. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • 3ddiag Some 3ddiag scripts handle temporary files in an insecure manner. Thanks to Stefan Nordhausen <nordhaus at> for reporting some of these issues. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • mod_auth_shadow (apache-contrib) This apache module ignores account expiration dates. The update will be released together with mod_gzip.
  • cvsup cvsup uses a library path which is world-writeable. This behavior can lead to local privilege escalation. Thanks to Matthias Andree for notifying us. Upcoming SuSE Linux versions have an automatic check enabled to detect these types of bugs. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • nmap Due to a bad interaction between kernel and user-space for precalculated IP checksums nmap did not work on SUSE LINUX 9.0. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • netpbm Some tools in the netpbm suite create files in an insecure manner that can lead to local privilege escalation. New packages will be available soon.
  • zebra Local users can send malicious netlink messages that cause denial-of-service conditions in zebra. New packages will be available soon.
  • quagga Local users can send malicious netlink messages that cause denial-of-service conditions in the routing-daemon quagga. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • tcpdump The code for handling ISAKMP and RADIUS messages contained bugs which allowed remote attackers to crash tcpdump or to execute arbitrary code. New packages are available on our FTP servers.
  • mod_python A remote denial-of-service attack can be triggered against the Apache web server by sending a specific query string that is processed by mod_python. 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.
  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


  • 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:

<> 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 <>, SUSE LINUX AG, Security Support & Auditing