University of Washington Pico File Overwrite Vulnerability

A vulnerability exists in several versions of University of Washington's Pico, a widely-distributed text editor shipped with most versions of Linux / Unix.

Under very specific circumstances, it is possible to cause this version of Pico to overwrite arbitrary files with the privilege level of the victim user.

As a result, if the attacker is able to correctly predict the name of the editor's temporary file, the current contents of the editor can be written to key system files or other data to which the user has write privileges. Depending on the user's privilege level, this could have a range of negative impacts on the host's security and operation.

Versions 3.8 and 4.3 of Pico have been confirmed vulnerable. Other versions are likely affected as well.

Note that, because the popular mail client Pine uses Pico as its editor, Pine is also vulnerable to this issue.


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