FreeBSD Ports Security Advisory: FreeBSD-SA-01:04.joe

FreeBSD Security Advisories security-advisories at
Mon Jan 15 14:33:02 PST 2001


FreeBSD-SA-01:04                                           Security Advisory
                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          joe creates insecure recovery files

Category:       ports
Module:         joe
Announced:      2001-01-15
Credits:        Christer Öberg and Patrik Birgersson,
		of Wkit Security AB
Affects:        Ports collection prior to the correction date.
Corrected:      2000-12-12
Vendor status:  Updated version released
FreeBSD only:   NO

I.   Background

joe is a text editor.

II.  Problem Description

The joe port, versions prior to 2.8_2, contains a local vulnerability:
if a joe session with an unsaved file terminates abnormally, joe
creates a rescue copy of the file called ``DEADJOE'' in the same
directory as the file being edited.  The creation of this copy is made
without checking if the file is a symbolic link.  If the file is a
link, joe will append the contents of the unsaved file to the linked
file: therefore if the joe editor is run on a private file in a public
directory such as /tmp, an attacker can access the contents of the
edited file by causing it to be appended to a world-writable file
owned by the attacker if the joe process terminates abnormally.

The joe port is not installed by default, nor is it "part of FreeBSD"
as such: it is part of the FreeBSD ports collection, which contains
nearly 4500 third-party applications in a ready-to-install format.
The ports collections shipped with FreeBSD 3.5.1 and 4.2 contain 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

Malicious local users, under certain restricted conditions, may obtain
read access to non-readable files edited using the joe editor.

If you have not chosen to install the joe port/package, then your
system is not vulnerable to this problem.

IV.  Workaround

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

V.   Solution

One of the following:

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

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

3) download a new port skeleton for the joe 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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