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man 'makewhatis' insecurely uses /tmp

Vulnerability Note VU#35842

Original Release Date: 2001-06-18 | Last Revised: 2001-06-18

Overview

The 'makewhatis' script in the Linux man package allows local users to overwrite files via a symlink attack.

Description

The 'makewhatis' program is a Bourne shell script that ships with many Linux distributions in the 'man' package of programs. The 'makewhatis' script creates files in the /tmp directory with predictable names. By using various symlink attacks, it is possible for local users to exploit this predictability to create or modify arbitrary files and gain elevated privilege. In addition, the 'makewhatis' script is run daily to rebuild the database used by the 'whatis' command. Local users may be able to read any system file by forcing a copy of it into the 'whatis' database.

The man package version 1.5e and higher is vulnerable to this flaw.

Impact

Many distributions of Linux contain the 'man' package. The vulnerability in 'makewhatis' can be exploited by local users to corrupt privileged (root) files on the system or to gain elevated privileges.

Solution

Versions of Linux in affected distributions should be upgraded.

Vendor Information

35842
 
Affected   Unknown   Unaffected

Caldera

Notified:  June 07, 2000 Updated:  June 15, 2001

Status

  Vulnerable

Vendor Statement

Caldera reports the vulnerability of Caldera Linux to this flaw at http://www.caldera.com/support/security/advisories/CSSA-2000-021.0.txt.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.

Addendum

The CERT/CC has no additional comments at this time.

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

Conectiva

Notified:  July 27, 2000 Updated:  June 15, 2001

Status

  Vulnerable

Vendor Statement

----------------------------------------------------------------------
CONECTIVA LINUX SECURITY ANNOUNCEMENT
----------------------------------------------------------------------

PACKAGE : man
SUMMARY : Insecure directory creation in /tmp
DATE : 2000-07-27
AFFECTED CONECTIVA VERSIONS : 5.1


DESCRIPTION
This announcement is being re-released specifically for Conectiva Linux
5.1.

Redhat has identified a problem with the man package which also affects
Conectiva Linux. Conectiva Linux versions prior to 5.1 have already been
patched.
The man package has a script called makewhatis that is run weekly by the
cron daemon as root. This script creates a directory in /tmp and some files
under it with predictable names, thus making it possible for a local
attacker to alter any file in the system via symlink attacks.


SOLUTION
All users of Conectiva Linux 5.1 should upgrade.
Conectiva Linux versions prior to 5.1 have already been patched.


DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINKS TO UPDATED PACKAGES
ftp://ftp.conectiva.com.br/pub/conectiva/atualizacoes/5.1/i386/man-1.5g-9cl.i386.rpm

DIRECT LINK TO THE SOURCE PACKAGES
ftp://ftp.conectiva.com.br/pub/conectiva/atualizacoes/5.1/SRPMS/man-1.5g-9cl.src.rpm

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.

Addendum

The CERT/CC has no additional comments at this time.

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

MandrakeSoft

Notified:  July 07, 2000 Updated:  June 15, 2001

Status

  Vulnerable

Vendor Statement

MandrakeSoft reports the vulnerability of Linux-Mandrake to this flaw at http://www.linux-mandrake.com/en/updates/2000/MDKSA-2000-015.php3?dis=6.0.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.

Addendum

The CERT/CC has no additional comments at this time.

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

RedHat

Updated:  June 15, 2001

Status

  Vulnerable

Vendor Statement

Red Hat reports their vulnerability to this flaw at http://www.redhat.com/support/errata/RHSA-2000-041-02.html.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.

Addendum

The CERT/CC has no additional comments at this time.

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


CVSS Metrics

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

References

Credit

Thanks to Red Hat for the information contained in their security advisory.

This document was written by Andrew P. Moore.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2000-0566
Severity Metric: 3.04
Date Public: 2000-07-03
Date First Published: 2001-06-18
Date Last Updated: 2001-06-18 17:24 UTC
Document Revision: 6

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