FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-SA-01:50.windowmaker

FreeBSD Security Advisories security-advisories at
Fri Jul 27 13:20:49 PDT 2001


FreeBSD-SA-01:50                                           Security Advisory
                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          windowmaker contains possibly exploitable buffer overflow

Category:       ports
Module:         windowmaker/windowmaker-i18n
Announced:      2001-07-27
Credits:        Robert Marshall <robert at>
Affects:        Ports collection prior to the correction date.
Corrected:      2001-07-24
Vendor status:  Updated version released
FreeBSD only:   NO

I.   Background

Windowmaker is a GNUstep-compliant X11 window manager which emulates
the NeXTSTEP interface.

II.  Problem Description

The windowmaker ports, versions prior to windowmaker-0.65.0_2 and
windowmaker-i18n-0.65.0_1, contain a potentially exploitable buffer
overflow when displaying a very long window title in the window list
menu.  Since programs such as web browsers will include the contents
of a webpage's title tag in window titles, this problem may allow
authors of malicious webpages to cause windowmaker to crash and
potentially execute arbitrary code as the user running windowmaker.

The windowmaker ports are not installed by default, nor are they
"part of FreeBSD" as such: they are part of the FreeBSD ports
collection, which contains over 5500 third-party applications in
a ready-to-install format. The ports collection shipped with FreeBSD
4.3 is vulnerable to this problem since it was discovered after
its release.

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

Under certain circumstances, remote webservers may cause windowmaker
to crash and potentially execute arbitrary code as the user running

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

IV.  Workaround

Deinstall the windowmaker package if you have installed it.

V.   Solution

One of the following:

1) Upgrade your entire ports collection and rebuild the windowmaker
or windowmaker-i18n port.

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


Packages are not automatically generated for the alpha architecture at
this time due to lack of build resources.

3) download a new port skeleton for the windowmaker or windowmaker-i18n
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 v1.0.6 (FreeBSD)
Comment: For info see


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