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TUCoPS :: Unix :: Various Flavours :: ciacb032.txt

Ultrix usr/bin/mail Problem




       _____________________________________________________
              The Computer Incident Advisory Capability
                          ___  __ __    _     ___
                         /       |     / \   /
                         \___  __|__  /___\  \___
         _____________________________________________________
                          Information Bulletin

July 8, 1991, 1100 PDT                                        Number B-32

________________________________________________________________________
PROBLEM:  Bug in /usr/bin/mail may allow users unauthorized access to 
          a root shell
PLATFORM:  DEC VAX and RISC (DECStation and DECSystem) computers running 
          versions of Ultrix prior to 4.2. 
DAMAGE:   Potential for significant damage to system and unauthorized 
          access to users' files once an intruder has gained root access.  
SOLUTIONS:   Patch available through DEC Customer Support Center 
          (1-800-332-8000) or CIAC.
________________________________________________________________________
	 Critical Facts about /usr/bin/mail Security Problem
   
A recently discovered bug in Ultrix /usr/bin/mail may allow a
non-privileged user to obtain unauthorized access to a root shell.
This problem applies to all Ultrix versions prior to 4.2 running on
both the VAX and DEC RISC (i.e. DECStation and DECSystem)
architectures.  DEC has determined that the /usr/bin/mail program
provided in Ultrix 4.2 does not contain this bug, and is compatible
with Ultrix 4.1 systems.  However, version 4.2 of /usr/bin/mail has
not been shown to be compatible with versions of Ultrix previous to
Ultrix version 4.1; upgrading to Ultrix 4.2 or upgrading to Ultrix 4.1
and using the Ultrix 4.2 /usr/bin/mail program is required to
eliminate this bug in these older versions of Ultrix.

To update an Ultrix 4.1 system, you must first obtain the Ultrix 4.2
binary of /usr/bin/mail for your computer's architecture from DEC,
CIAC, or another compatible Ultrix 4.2 system and store it in a
temporary location (e.g., /tmp/mail).  Next, use the following
procedure:

(Login as root - you must have root privilege to make this update.)
  # cd /usr/bin
  # mv mail mail-4.1
  # chmod 600 mail-4.1
(Copy the Ultrix 4.2 binary to /usr/bin/mail, e.g., mv /tmp/mail /usr/bin/mail)
  # chown root mail
  # chgrp kmem mail
  # chmod 6755 mail

For additional information or assistance, please contact CIAC   

	Hal Brand
        (415) 422-6312 or (FTS) 532-6312
 	brand@addvax.llnl.gov

 	Call CIAC at (415) 422-8193 or (FTS) 532-8193 or send e-mail
 	to ciac@cheetah.llnl.gov.  

 	Send FAX messages to:  (415) 423-0913 or (FTS) 543-0913.

Tsutomu Shimomura and Digital Equipment Corportation (DEC) provided some
of the information contained in this bulletin.  Neither the United
States Government nor the University of California nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any
legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or
usefulness of any information, 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 nor
the University of California, and shall not be used for advertising or
product endorsement purposes.



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