Visit our newest sister site!
Hundreds of free aircraft flight manuals
Civilian • Historical • Military • Declassified • FREE!

TUCoPS :: Unix :: General :: ciaci046.txt

Open Group Xterm Xaw Lib Vulnerabilities



                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                    Computer Incident Advisory Capability
                           ___  __ __    _     ___
                          /       |     /_\   /
                          \___  __|__  /   \  \___

                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

                Open Group xterm and Xaw Library Vulnerabilities

April 28, 1998 16:00 GMT                                          Number I-046
PROBLEM:       Vulnerabilities exist in the terminal emulator xterm(1) and the
               Xaw library.
PLATFORM:      In various MIT X Consortium and The Open Group X Project Team
DAMAGE:        If exploited, these vulnerabilities may allow an intruder root
SOLUTION:      Apply patches or workaround.
VULNERABILITY  The Open Group X Project Team HIGHLY recommends that the
ASSESSMENT:    information below be acted upon as soon as possible.

[  Start The Open Group Advisory  ]

=======================FORWARDED TEXT STARTS HERE============================
             The Open Group X Project Team Security Advisory

        Title:   xterm and Xaw library vulnerability
        Date:    April 27, 1998

The Open Group X Project Team provides this information freely to the X11
user community for its consideration, interpretation, implementation and use.
The Open Group X Project Team recommends that this information be acted upon
as soon as possible.

The Open Group X Project Team provides the information in this Security
Advisory on an "AS-IS" basis only, and disclaims all warranties with respect
thereto, express, implied or otherwise, including, without limitation, any
warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.  In no event
shall The Open Group be liable for any loss of profits, loss of business, loss
of data or for any indirect, special, exemplary, incidental or consequential
damages of any kind arising from your use of, failure to use or improper
use of any of the instructions or information in this Security Advisory.

I. Description

Vulnerabilities exist in the terminal emulator xterm(1), and the Xaw
library distributed in various MIT X Consortium; X Consortium, Inc.;
and The Open Group X Project Team releases. These vulnerabilities may
be exploited by an intruder to gain root access.

The resources and the releases affected by the xterm vulnerability are:

                 inputMethod       preeditType      *Keymap
    X11R3           NO                 NO             YES
    X11R4           NO                 NO             YES
    X11R5           NO                 NO             YES
    X11R6           NO                 NO             YES
    X11R6.1         YES                YES            YES
    X11R6.2         YES                YES            YES
    X11R6.3         YES                YES            YES
    X11R6.4         YES                YES            YES

The resources and the releases affected by the Xaw library
vulnerability are

                 inputMethod       preeditType
    X11R6           YES                YES
    X11R6.1         YES                YES
    X11R6.2         YES                YES
    X11R6.3         YES                YES
    X11R6.4         YES                YES

(X11R6.2 was not released to the public.)

The Open Group X Project Team has investigated the issue and recommends
the following steps for neutralizing the exposure. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
that these measures be implemented on ALL vulnerable systems. This issue
will be corrected in future X Project Team releases of X11.

- -----------------
- ------ Impact ---
- -----------------

By crafting an arbitrarily long string that contains embedded machine code
and using it to set specific "resources", a user may obtain a shell prompt
that has root privileges.

Anyone using the MIT X Consortium; X Consortium, Inc.; or X Project Team
xterm and that has xterm installed setuid-root may be vulnerable.

Anyone using an xterm based on any of the sources listed above may
also be vulnerable to the xterm vulnerability.

In order to be vulnerable to the Xaw library vulnerability, the Xaw
Text widget must be used by a setuid-root program. Anyone using an
Xaw replacement based on any of the released versions of Xaw listed
above (e.g. Xaw3d) may also be vulnerable to the Xaw vulnerability.

- -----------------------------
- ------ Temporary Solution  ---
- -----------------------------

     1) Become the root user on the system.

                % /bin/su -

     2) Remove the setuid-root bit from the xterm binary.

                # chmod 0755 <path-to-xterm>/xterm

For the Xaw vulnerability, remove the suid-root bit from any programs
which use the Xaw text widget.

 2) Remove the setuid-root bit from the binary.

                # chmod 0755 <setuid-root-program>

- -------------------
- ------ Solution ---
- -------------------

Patches to address this vulnerability have been given to X Project Team

    BARCO Chromatics
    CliniComp International
    Hummingbird Communications
    Jupiter Systems
    Metro Link
    Network Computing Devices
    Seaweed Systems
    Sequent Computer Systems
    Shiman Associates
    Silicon Graphics
    Societe Axel
    Siemens Nixdorf
    Xi Graphics

The X Project Team periodically makes public patches available to fix a
variety of problems. Announcements about the availability of these patches
is announced on the Usenet newsgroup. The patches,
when they become available, may be found on
The X Project Team only supplies patches for the latest release -- we do
not make patches for prior releases.

Information on joining The Open Group can be found at

========================FORWARDED TEXT ENDS HERE=============================

[  End The Open Group Advisory  ]


CIAC wishes to acknowledge the contributions of CERT and The Open Group for
the information contained in this bulletin.

CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Capability, is the computer
security incident response team for the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the emergency backup response team for the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). CIAC is located at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in Livermore, California. CIAC is also a founding
member of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, a
global organization established to foster cooperation and coordination
among computer security teams worldwide.

CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE contractors, and the NIH. CIAC
can be contacted at:
    Voice:    +1 925-422-8193
    FAX:      +1 925-423-8002
    STU-III:  +1 925-423-2604

For emergencies and off-hour assistance, DOE, DOE contractor sites,
and the NIH may contact CIAC 24-hours a day. During off hours (5PM -
8AM PST), call the CIAC voice number 925-422-8193 and leave a message,
or call 800-759-7243 (800-SKY-PAGE) to send a Sky Page. CIAC has two
Sky Page PIN numbers, the primary PIN number, 8550070, is for the CIAC
duty person, and the secondary PIN number, 8550074 is for the CIAC
Project Leader.

Previous CIAC notices, anti-virus software, and other information are
available from the CIAC Computer Security Archive.

   World Wide Web:
                        (or -- they're the same machine)
   Anonymous FTP:
                        (or -- they're the same machine)
   Modem access:        +1 (925) 423-4753 (28.8K baud)
                        +1 (925) 423-3331 (28.8K baud)

CIAC has several self-subscribing mailing lists for electronic
1. CIAC-BULLETIN for Advisories, highest priority - time critical
   information and Bulletins, important computer security information;
2. SPI-ANNOUNCE for official news about Security Profile Inspector
   (SPI) software updates, new features, distribution and
3. SPI-NOTES, for discussion of problems and solutions regarding the
   use of SPI products.

Our mailing lists are managed by a public domain software package
called Majordomo, which ignores E-mail header subject lines. To
subscribe (add yourself) to one of our mailing lists, send the
following request as the E-mail message body, substituting
ciac-bulletin, spi-announce OR spi-notes for list-name:

E-mail to or
        subscribe list-name
  e.g., subscribe ciac-bulletin

You will receive an acknowledgment email immediately with a confirmation
that you will need to mail back to the addresses above, as per the
instructions in the email.  This is a partial protection to make sure
you are really the one who asked to be signed up for the list in question.

If you include the word 'help' in the body of an email to the above address,
it will also send back an information file on how to subscribe/unsubscribe,
get past issues of CIAC bulletins via email, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: Many users outside of the DOE, ESnet, and NIH computing
communities receive CIAC bulletins.  If you are not part of these
communities, please contact your agency's response team to report
incidents. Your agency's team will coordinate with CIAC. The Forum of
Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is a world-wide
organization. A list of FIRST member organizations and their
constituencies can be obtained via WWW at

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an
agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States
Government nor the University of California nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any
legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or
usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process
disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately
owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products,
process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or
otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement,
recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or the
University of California. The views and opinions of authors expressed
herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States
Government or the University of California, and shall not be used for
advertising or product endorsement purposes.

LAST 10 CIAC BULLETINS ISSUED (Previous bulletins available from CIAC)

I-036: FreeBSD Denial-of Service LAND Attacks
I-037: FreeBSD mmap Vulnerability
I-038: Ascend Routing Hardware Vulnerabilities
I-039: HP-UX inetd Vulnerability
I-040: SGI Netscape Navigator Vulnerabilities
I-041: Performer API Search Tool 2.2 pfdispaly.cgi Vulnerability
I-042: SGI IRIX lp(1) Security Vulnerability
I-043: SGI IRIX mailcap Vulnerability
I-044: BIND Vulnerabilities
I-045: SGI IRIX LicenseManager(1M) Vulnerabilities

Version: 4.0 Business Edition


TUCoPS is optimized to look best in Firefox® on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986-2015 AOH