FreeBSD Ports Security Advisory: FreeBSD-SA-00:81.ethereal

FreeBSD Security Advisories security-advisories at
Wed Dec 20 07:27:13 PST 2000


FreeBSD-SA-00:81                                           Security Advisory
                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          ethereal allows remote code execution

Category:       ports
Module:         ethereal
Announced:      2000-12-20
Credits:        mat at
Affects:        Ports collection prior to the correction date.
Corrected:      2000-11-21
Vendor status:  Updated version released
FreeBSD only:   NO

I.   Background

ethereal is a tool for monitoring network activity.

II.  Problem Description

The ethereal port, versions prior to 0.8.14, contains buffer overflows
which allow a remote attacker to crash ethereal or execute arbitrary
code on the local system as the user running ethereal, typically the
root user. These vulnerabilities are identical to those described in
advisory 00:61 relating to tcpdump.

The ethereal port is not installed by default, nor is it "part of
FreeBSD" as such: it is part of the FreeBSD ports collection, which
contains over 4200 third-party applications in a ready-to-install
format. The ports collections shipped with FreeBSD 3.5.1 and 4.2 are
vulnerable to this problem since it was discovered after the releases.

FreeBSD makes no claim about the security of these third-party
applications, although an effort is underway to provide a security
audit of the most security-critical ports.

III. Impact

Remote users can cause the local ethereal process to crash, or
to execute arbitrary code as the user running ethereal (usually root).

IV.  Workaround

Do not use vulnerable versions of ethereal in network environments
which may contain packets from untrusted sources.

Deinstall the ethereal port/package, if you have installed it.

V.   Solution

One of the following:

1) Upgrade your entire ports collection and rebuild the ethereal port.

2) Deinstall the old package and install a new package dated after the
correction date, obtained from the following directories:

3) download a new port skeleton for the ethereal port from:

and use it to rebuild the port.

4) Use the portcheckout utility to automate option (3) above. The
portcheckout port is available in /usr/ports/devel/portcheckout or the
package can be obtained from:

Version: GnuPG v1.0.4 (FreeBSD)
Comment: For info see


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