FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-SA-01:57.sendmail [REVISED]

FreeBSD Security Advisories security-advisories at
Thu Sep 6 14:18:35 PDT 2001


FreeBSD-SA-01:57                                           Security Advisory
                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          sendmail contains local root vulnerability [REVISED]

Category:       core
Module:         sendmail
Announced:      2001-08-27
Revised:        2001-09-06
Credits:        Cade Cairnss <cairnsc at>
Affects:        FreeBSD 4-STABLE after August 27, 2000 and prior to
                the correction date, FreeBSD 4.1.1-RELEASE,
                4.2-RELEASE, 4.3-RELEASE
Corrected:      2001-08-21 01:36:37 UTC (FreeBSD 4.3-STABLE)
                2001-08-22 05:34:11 UTC (RELENG_4_3)
FreeBSD only:   NO

0.   Revision History

v1.0  2001-08-27  Initial release
v1.1  2001-08-30  Update package to remove setuid bit from saved file;
                  add non-openssl package; correct typo in package
                  instructions; note that $Id$ not updated in
v1.2  2001-09-06  No changes to advisory, but the sendmail-crypto upgrade
                  package had incorrect permissions for the sendmail
                  binary.  Update this package.

I.   Background

sendmail is a mail transfer agent.

II.  Problem Description

Sendmail contains an input validation error which may lead to the
execution of arbitrary code with elevated privileges by local users.
Due to the improper use of signed integers in code responsible for the
processing of debugging arguments, a local user may be able to supply
the signed integer equivalent of a negative value supplied to
sendmail's "trace vector".  This may allow a local user to write data
anywhere within a certain range of locations in process memory.
Because the '-d' command-line switch is processed before the program
drops its elevated privileges, the attacker may be able to cause
arbitrary code to be executed with root privileges. 

III. Impact

Local users may be able to execute arbitrary code with root privileges.

IV.  Workaround

Do not allow untrusted users to execute the sendmail binary.

V.   Solution

One of the following:

1) Upgrade your vulnerable FreeBSD system to 4.3-STABLE or the
RELENG_4_3 security branch after the respective correction dates.

2) FreeBSD 4.x systems after August 27, 2000 and prior to the
correction date:

The following patch has been verified to apply to FreeBSD
4.1.1-RELEASE, 4.2-RELEASE, 4.3-RELEASE and 4-STABLE dated prior to
the correction date.

Download the patch and the detached PGP signature from the following
locations, and verify the signature using your PGP utility.

# fetch
# fetch

Execute the following commands as root:

# cd /usr/src
# patch -p < /path/to/patch
# cd /usr/src/lib/libsmutil
# make depend && make all
# cd /usr/src/usr.sbin/sendmail
# make depend && make all install

3) FreeBSD 4.3-RELEASE systems:

** NOTE: The initial version of the upgrade package did not remove
** setuid root privileges from the saved copy of the sendmail binary.
** To correct this, deinstall the old package using the pkg_delete(1)
** command and install the corrected package as described below.

An experimental upgrade package is available for users who wish to
provide testing and feedback on the binary upgrade process.  This
package may be installed on FreeBSD 4.3-RELEASE systems only, and is
intended for use on systems for which source patching is not practical
or convenient.

If you use the upgrade package, feedback (positive or negative) to
security-officer at is requested so we can improve the
process for future advisories.

During the installation procedure, backup copies are made of the
files which are replaced by the package.  These backup copies will
be reinstalled if the package is removed, reverting the system to a
pre-patched state.

Two versions of the package are available, depending on whether or not
OpenSSL is installed.  If the file /usr/lib/ exists on the
local system, follow the directions in section 1a) below, otherwise
follow the directions in section 1b).  After adding the package,
proceed with the instructions in section 2).

1a) If crypto is installed:

# fetch
# fetch

Verify the detached PGP signature using your PGP utility.

# pkg_add security-patch-sendmail-crypto-01.57.tgz

1b) If crypto is not installed:

# fetch
# fetch

Verify the detached PGP signature using your PGP utility.

# pkg_add security-patch-sendmail-nocrypto-01.57.tgz

2) Restart sendmail after applying the patch by executing the following
commands as root:

# killall sendmail
# /usr/sbin/sendmail -bd -q30m

The flags to sendmail may need to be adjusted as required for the
local system configuration.

VI.   Correction details

The following is the sendmail $Id$ revision number of the file that
was corrected for the supported branches of FreeBSD.  The $Id$
revision number of the installed source can be examined using the
ident(1) command.  Note that the $Id$ tag was not updated on the
RELENG_4_3 branch because a newer vendor release of sendmail was not
imported, instead only this vulnerability was patched.

  Revision   Path  src/contrib/sendmail/src/trace.c

VII.  References

Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (FreeBSD)
Comment: For info see


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