Published: 2002-01-25 17:18:39
Updated: 2002-01-25 17:18:39


                        SuSE Security Announcement

        Package:                rsync
        Announcement-ID:        SuSE-SA:2002:004
        Date:                   Fri Jan 25 17:00:00 CET 2002
        Affected SuSE versions: 6.4, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3
        Vulnerability Type:     remote command executionn
        Severity (1-10):        7
        SuSE default package:   no
        Other affected systems: All systems with vulnerable rsync.

    Content of this advisory:
        1) security vulnerability resolved: rsync negative array indexing
           problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information
        2) pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds
        3) standard appendix (further information)


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

    The rsync program allows users and administrators to synchronize files and
    whole directory structures on different machines. It is common practise
    to allow remote users to mirror ftp servers via anonymous rsync access.
    There exist several signedness bugs within the rsync program which allow
    remote attackers to write 0-bytes to almost arbitrary stack-locations,
    therefore being able to control the programflow and obtaining a shell
    remotely. These bugs have been fixed.

    It is recommended (also stated in the rsync documentation) to use the
    "use chroot" option in rsyncd's configuration file (/etc/rsyncd.conf)
    to limit the impact of a possible attack. Since this workaround does
    not completely solve the security problem, we recommend to update the
    package as described below.

    We want to express our gratitude to Andrew Tridgell and Martin Pool,
    the rsync authors and maintainers, for their excellent cooperation in
    this matter.

    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.

    To be sure that the update takes effect, kill any existing instances of
    the rsync-program.
    In case you run rsync via the inetd superserver, you do not need to
    restart any of your services. Inetd will automatically use the new binary.
    If you used run your rsync-service with the "rsync --daemon" command,
    restart your rsync with "rync --daemon" again, this time using the new

    i386 Intel Platform:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    Sparc Platform:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    AXP Alpha Platform:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    Power PC Platform:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:

    source rpm:


2)  Pending vulnerabilities in SuSE Distributions and Workarounds:
    - pine
    The popular mail client "pine" was found vulnerable to an attack where
    shell metacharacters inside an URL could be used to execute arbitrary
    commands if pine passes the URL to an external viewer on the
    commandline. The pine packages on SuSE products are not vulnerable to
    this weakness because they contain a patch that works around this
    problem since it is not new.

    - xchat
    We are working on updates for the xchat packages in the SuSE Linux
    7.0 and 7.1 distributions that are vulnerable to an encoding bug
    while receiving and decoding ctcp datagrams. This bug can lead
    an xchat IRC client to execute IRC protocol specific commands to an
    IRC server such as channel mode changes.


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.

    1) 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.

    2) 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 uninstalled rpm
       package file.
        a) gpg is installed
        b) 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 toplevel directory of the first CD (pubring.gpg)
           and at .

  - SuSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may
        -   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 annoucements 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 cleartext signature shows proof of the
    authenticity of the text.
    SuSE GmbH makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever with respect
    to the information contained in this security advisory.


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