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SUSE Linux Advisory: xf86/XFree86

Feb 23, 2004, 20:28 (0 Talkback[s])

SUSE Security Announcement

Package: xf86/XFree86
Announcement-ID: SuSE-SA:2004:006
Date: Monday, Feb. 23th 2004 16:30 MET
Affected products: 8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 9.0 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: local privilege escalation
Severity (1-10): 5
SUSE default package: yes
Cross References: CAN-2004-0083 CAN-2004-0084 CAN-2004-0106

Content of this advisory:

  1. security vulnerability resolved:
    • several local buffer overflows in fontfile code problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information
  2. pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds:
    • mutt
    • mod_python
    • mailman
    • metamail
    • libxml2
    • lbreakout
    • pwlib
  3. standard appendix (further information)

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

XFree86 is an open-source X Window System implementation that acts as a client-server-based API between different hardware components like display, mouse, keyboard and so on. Several buffer overflows were found in the fontfile code that handles a user-supplied "fonts.alias" file. The file is processed with root privileges and therefore a successful exploitation of these bugs leads to local root access.

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:

ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/9.0/rpm/i586/XFree86- dcaadc2b9438995c9a3ac6e4fc7bf181
patch rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/9.0/rpm/i586/XFree86- f094861c9a0fbb5f27d168b680fe1a5b
source rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/9.0/rpm/src/XFree86- 824c6173693342a033f75c503592e7e0

ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.2/rpm/i586/XFree86-4.3.0-120.i586.rpm f1f01280e6e8a5a2f091a04c5836a51d
patch rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.2/rpm/i586/XFree86-4.3.0-120.i586.patch.rpm 16ba90ef0ad607d1547cda7734b28750
source rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.2/rpm/src/XFree86-4.3.0-120.src.rpm 4100735436d4c8801c6add673fceb29e

ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.1/rpm/i586/xf86-4.2.0-257.i586.rpm 9ed1fc5ec83a42a85315391387610e6b
patch rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.1/rpm/i586/xf86-4.2.0-257.i586.patch.rpm 9652732385f8670ea9d36151378b7428
source rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.1/rpm/src/xf86-4.2.0-257.src.rpm e1d73191d2aabe3a6dda677e6fd716bc

ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.0/x1/xf86-4.2.0-257.i386.rpm 9b69aac017a0ac9905e3fc4e9594d435
patch rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.0/x1/xf86-4.2.0-257.i386.patch.rpm 3076136bcdf20132f343768e4a71c7a2
source rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/8.0/zq1/xf86-4.2.0-257.src.rpm 1775eef155f4afdc9a3a08ff31a38607

Opteron x86_64 Platform:

ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/x86_64/update/9.0/rpm/x86_64/XFree86- 1714cb2eb566fab0e29277db9f9d2572
patch rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/x86_64/update/9.0/rpm/x86_64/XFree86- 930944efc868b28d87a69a9543206546
source rpm(s):
ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/x86_64/update/9.0/rpm/src/XFree86- ee67773fcad341912b617d397991ed32

2) Pending vulnerabilities in SUSE Distributions and Workarounds:

  • mutt
    The popular email client mutt is vulnerable to a remote denial-of-service attack and maybe remote command execution. The bug can be triggered by malformed messages that overflow an internal buffer. 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.
  • mutt
    The popular email client mutt is vulnerable to a remote denial-of-service attack and maybe remote command execution. The bug can be triggered by malformed messages that overflow an internal buffer. New packages are available on our FTP servers..
  • mailman
    A remote denial-of-service attack can be triggered in mailman 2.0.x (CAN-2003-0991). New packages will be available soon.
  • metamail
    This update fixes two buffer overflows and two format string bugs that can be exploited remotely in conjunction with other tools to gain access to a system with the privileges of the user running New packages will be available soon.
  • libxml2
    A buffer overflow in the URI parsing cde is fixed. This bug can lead to remote access to a system using libxml2. New packages will be available soon.
  • lbreakout
    A buffer overflow in lbreakout can be exploited locally to gain access to group 'game'. This just affects SuSE Linux 8.1. New packages will be available soon.
  • pwlib
    This update addresses several security vulnerabilities that may be exploited remotely via applications that link with pwlib, like GnomeMeeting or alike. 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 security@suse.de), 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 "build@suse.de" 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 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:

<suse-security-info@suse.com> or
<suse-security-faq@suse.com> respectively.

SUSE's security contact is <security@suse.com> or <security@suse.de>. The <security@suse.de> 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 <security@suse.de>
pub 1024D/9C800ACA 2000-10-19 SuSE Package Signing Key <build@suse.de>