Vulnerability Note VU#881872

Sun Solaris telnet authentication bypass vulnerability

Original Release date: 12 Feb 2007 | Last revised: 21 Jul 2008


A vulnerability in the Sun Solaris telnet daemon (in.telnetd) could allow a remote attacker to log on to the system with elevated privileges.


The Sun Solaris telnet daemon may accept authentication information via the USER environment variable. However, the daemon does not properly sanitize this information before passing it to the login program, and login makes unsafe assumptions about the information. This may allow a remote attacker to trivially bypass the telnet and login authentication mechanisms. In some default configurations of Solaris this vulnerability cannot be exploited to gain access to the root account, but it can be used to gain privileges of other accounts, such as adm and lp.

According to Sun, Solaris 10 (SunOS 5.10) and Solaris "Nevada" (SunOS 5.11) are affected by this issue. More information is available in Sun Alert Notification 102802 and in Alan Hargreaves' blog, here and here.

This vulnerability is being exploited by a worm, for more information see the Security Sun Alert Feed and Technical Alert TA07-059A.


A remote attacker could log on to a vulnerable system via telnet and gain elevated privileges.


Apply a patch
Apply the patches referenced in Sun Alert Notification 102802.

Disable telnet

Disable telnet if it's not needed. Telnet can be disabled by issuing the following command:

    # svcadm disable telnet
Restrict access

You may wish to block access to the vulnerable software from outside your network perimeter, specifically by blocking access to the ports used by Sun Solaris telnet (typically 23/tcp). This will limit your exposure to attacks.

Prefer SSH over telnet

SSH provides a comparatively more secure method for remotely logging into a system than telnet. As general advice, we recommend using SSH rather than telnet.

Systems Affected (Learn More)

VendorStatusDate NotifiedDate Updated
Sun Microsystems, Inc.Affected12 Feb 200716 Feb 2007
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 vulnerability was reported by Kingcope.

This document was written by Art Manion and Chris Taschner.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CVE-2007-0882
  • Date Public: 10 Feb 2007
  • Date First Published: 12 Feb 2007
  • Date Last Updated: 21 Jul 2008
  • Severity Metric: 67.50
  • Document Revision: 75


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