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SGI IRIX contains vulnerability in rpc.passwd allowing for root compromise

Vulnerability Note VU#430419

Original Release Date: 2002-07-11 | Last Revised: 2002-07-11


There is a vulnerability in rpc.passwd that could allow root compromise.


/usr/etc/rpc.passwd, part of the nfs.sw.nis subsystem on IRIX 6.5, could permit a root compromise. No other details are available.


Intruders could gain root access.


Apply a patch as described by SGI. See the SGI vendor statement below for additional information.

Vendor Information


SGI Affected

Updated:  July 11, 2002



Vendor Statement



                          SGI Security Advisory

        Title:      rpc.passwd vulnerability
       Number:     20020601-01-P
       Date:       June 4, 2002
       Reference:  CAN-2002-0357

- -----------------------
- --- Issue Specifics ---
- -----------------------

It's been reported that /usr/etc/rpc.passwd has a vulnerability which
could allow a user to compromise root.

SGI has investigated the issue and recommends the following steps for
neutralizing the exposure.  It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that these measures be
implemented on ALL vulnerable SGI systems.

These issues have been corrected with patches and in future releases of

- --------------
- --- Impact ---
- --------------

The rpc.passwd binary is not installed by default on IRIX 6.5 systems. It is
part of the optional subsystem "nfs.sw.nis".

To see if rpc.passwd is installed, execute the following command:

  # versions nfs.sw.nis
 I = Installed, R = Removed

     Name                 Date        Description

     I  nfs                  03/26/2002  Network File System, 6.5.16m
    I  nfs.sw               03/26/2002  NFS Software
    I  nfs.sw.nis           03/26/2002  NIS (formerly Yellow Pages) Support

If the line containing "nfs.sw.nis" is returned, then it is installed and
the system is potentially vulnerable.  This vulnerability applies only to
systems that are configured as YP masters ("chkconfig yp" shows "on", and
"ps -ef | grep rpc.passwd" shows that rpc.passwd is running).

To determine the version of IRIX you are running, execute the following

  # uname -R

That will return a result similar to the following:

  # 6.5 6.5.15f

The first number ("6.5") is the release name, the second ("6.5.15f" in this
case) is the extended release name.  The extended release name is the
"version" we refer to throughout this document.

This vulnerability was assigned the following CVE:

- ----------------------------
- --- Temporary Workaround ---
- ----------------------------

SGI understands that there are times when upgrading the operating system or
installing patches are inconvenient or not possible.  In those instances, we
recommend the following workaround, although it may have a negative impact
on the functionality of the system:

  Disable the rpc.passwd binary by issuing the following command:

  # chmod 444 /usr/etc/rpc.passwd
 # killall rpc.passwd

  After doing this, it will be necessary to run the "passwd" program on the
 NIS master in order to cause NIS password changes.

Instead of using this workaround, SGI recommends either upgrading to IRIX
6.5.16 when released, or installing the appropriate patch from the listing
below.  We recommend this course of action because IRIX 6.5.16 and the patch
also fix other non security-related issues with rpc.passwd.

- ----------------
- --- Solution ---
- ----------------

SGI has provided a series of patches for these vulnerabilities. Our
recommendation is to upgrade to IRIX 6.5.16 when available, or install the
appropriate patch.

   OS Version     Vulnerable?     Patch #      Other Actions
  ----------     -----------     -------      -------------
  IRIX 3.x        unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 4.x        unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 5.x        unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 6.0.x      unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 6.1        unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 6.2        unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 6.3        unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 6.4        unknown                     Note 1
  IRIX 6.5          yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.1        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.2        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.3        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.4        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.5        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.6        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.7        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.8        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.9        yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.10       yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.11       yes                       Notes 2 & 3
  IRIX 6.5.12       yes           4588        Note 4
  IRIX 6.5.13       yes           4588        Note 4
  IRIX 6.5.14       yes           4589        Note 4
  IRIX 6.5.15       yes           4589        Note 4
  IRIX 6.5.16       no                        Note 4


     1) This version of the IRIX operating has been retired. Upgrade to an
       actively supported IRIX operating system.  See for more

     2) If you have not received an IRIX 6.5.X CD for IRIX 6.5, contact your
       SGI Support Provider or URL:

     3) Upgrade to IRIX 6.5.16m or 6.5.16f.

     4) Note that these patches (and IRIX 6.5.16) address other rpc.passwd
       issues not related to the specific security issue being reported in
       this bulletin.  See the release notes for details.

                ##### Patch File Checksums ####

The actual patch will be a tar file containing the following files:

Filename:                 README.patch.4588
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    15257 9 README.patch.4588
Algorithm #2 (sum):       11291 9 README.patch.4588
MD5 checksum:             6E29360C22F9456717661420D65926D1

Filename:                 patchSG0004588
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    13341 3 patchSG0004588
Algorithm #2 (sum):       13931 3 patchSG0004588
MD5 checksum:             57D2491F21C0DC43A5D81C03599813E2

Filename:                 patchSG0004588.idb
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    37172 2 patchSG0004588.idb
Algorithm #2 (sum):       46649 2 patchSG0004588.idb
MD5 checksum:             C6ECFFB1F4F7C4509554591897AEC3DC

Filename:                 patchSG0004588.nfs_man
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    56602 11 patchSG0004588.nfs_man
Algorithm #2 (sum):       9641 11 patchSG0004588.nfs_man
MD5 checksum:             023B6AC8AD6677BB982E74993896AB7C

Filename:                 patchSG0004588.nfs_sw
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    11258 18 patchSG0004588.nfs_sw
Algorithm #2 (sum):       41577 18 patchSG0004588.nfs_sw
MD5 checksum:             80055ED605BEC319E73976A5D6F7DF78

Filename:                 README.patch.4589
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    65298 9 README.patch.4589
Algorithm #2 (sum):       13832 9 README.patch.4589
MD5 checksum:             B506426BE5B7C68EF1E1780383357AC1

Filename:                 patchSG0004589
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    37545 3 patchSG0004589
Algorithm #2 (sum):       15957 3 patchSG0004589
MD5 checksum:             AAB01D434DF5F0E7DA46C09BBB16B48C

Filename:                 patchSG0004589.idb
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    04106 2 patchSG0004589.idb
Algorithm #2 (sum):       59327 2 patchSG0004589.idb
MD5 checksum:             F8581C3F06EE1C1446E84F064F8E995F

Filename:                 patchSG0004589.nfs_man
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    22835 16 patchSG0004589.nfs_man
Algorithm #2 (sum):       56877 16 patchSG0004589.nfs_man
MD5 checksum:             01239B9072D682F82C372A9E10484EE7

Filename:                 patchSG0004589.nfs_sw
Algorithm #1 (sum -r):    08204 58 patchSG0004589.nfs_sw
Algorithm #2 (sum):       12173 58 patchSG0004589.nfs_sw
MD5 checksum:             6DA112FF943C10C80D0A4A636DD152F2

- ------------------------
- --- Acknowledgments ----
- ------------------------

SGI wishes to thank FIRST and the users of the Internet
Community at large for their assistance in this matter.

- -------------
- --- Links ---
- -------------

SGI Security Advisories can be found at: and

SGI Security Patches can be found at: and

SGI patches for IRIX can be found at the following patch servers: and

SGI freeware updates for IRIX can be found at:

SGI fixes for SGI open sourced code can be found on:

SGI patches and RPMs for Linux can be found at: or

SGI patches for Windows NT or 2000 can be found at:

IRIX 5.2-6.4 Recommended/Required Patch Sets can be found at: and

IRIX 6.5 Maintenance Release Streams can be found at:

IRIX 6.5 Software Update CDs can be obtained from:

The primary SGI anonymous FTP site for security advisories and patches is (  Security advisories and patches are
located under the URL

For security and patch management reasons, (mirrors security FTP repository) lags behind and does not do a
real-time update.

- -----------------------------------------
- --- SGI Security Information/Contacts ---
- -----------------------------------------

If there are questions about this document, email can be sent to


SGI provides security information and patches for use by the entire SGI
community.  This information is freely available to any person needing the
information and is available via anonymous FTP and the Web.

The primary SGI anonymous FTP site for security advisories and patches is (  Security advisories and patches are
located under the URL

The SGI Security Headquarters Web page is accessible at the URL:

For issues with the patches on the FTP sites, email can be sent to

For assistance obtaining or working with security patches, please
contact your SGI support provider.


SGI provides a free security mailing list service called wiretap and
encourages interested parties to self-subscribe to receive (via email) all
SGI Security Advisories when they are released. Subscribing to the mailing
list can be done via the Web
( or by sending email to
SGI as outlined below.

% mail
subscribe wiretap <YourEmailAddress>

In the example above, <YourEmailAddress> is the email address that you wish
the mailing list information sent to.  The word end must be on a separate
line to indicate the end of the body of the message. The control-d (^d) is
used to indicate to the mail program that you are finished composing the
mail message.


SGI provides a comprehensive customer World Wide Web site. This site is
located at .


If there are general security questions on SGI systems, email can be sent to

For reporting *NEW* SGI security issues, email can be sent to or contact your SGI support provider.  A support
contract is not required for submitting a security report.

     This information is provided freely to all interested parties
     and may be redistributed provided that it is not altered in any
     way, SGI is appropriately credited and the document retains and
     includes its valid PGP signature.

Version: 2.6.2


Vendor Information

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


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.

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Thanks to SGI for reporting this vulnerability.

This document was written by Shawn V Hernan based on information provided by SGI.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2002-0357
Severity Metric: 0.75
Date Public: 2002-06-04
Date First Published: 2002-07-11
Date Last Updated: 2002-07-11 21:12 UTC
Document Revision: 7

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