search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

CERT Coordination Center

HP-UX "passwd" utility may corrupt password file

Vulnerability Note VU#977779

Original Release Date: 2003-08-19 | Last Revised: 2003-08-19


The HP-UX "passwd" utility contains a denial-of-service vulnerability.


The HP-UX "passwd" utility is used to make changes to a user's authentication credentials. A vulnerability in "passwd" may allow a local attacker to corrupt the password file.


An attacker may be able to corrupt the password file. Corrupting the password file may cause legitimate users to be denied access to the system.


Apply a patch, as described in HPSBUX0204-191.

Vendor Information


Hewlett-Packard Company Affected

Updated:  April 25, 2002



Vendor Statement

 HP Support Information Digests

o  Security Bulletin Digest Split

   The security bulletins digest has been split into multiple digests
  based on the operating system (HP-UX, MPE/iX, and HP Secure OS
  Software for Linux).  You will continue to receive all security
  bulletin digests unless you choose to update your subscriptions.

   To update your subscriptions, use your browser to access the
  IT Resource Center on the World Wide Web at:

   Under the Maintenance and Support Menu, click on the "more..." link.
  Then use the 'login' link at the left side of the screen to login
  using your IT Resource Center User ID and Password.

   Under the notifications section (near the bottom of the page), select
  Support Information Digests.

   To subscribe or unsubscribe to a specific security bulletin digest,
  select or unselect the checkbox beside it. Then click the
  "Update Subscriptions" button at the bottom of the page.

o  IT Resource Center World Wide Web Service

   If you subscribed through the IT Resource Center and would
  like to be REMOVED from this mailing list, access the
  IT Resource Center on the World Wide Web at:

   Login using your IT Resource Center User ID and Password.
  Then select Support Information Digests (located under
  Maintenance and Support).  You may then unsubscribe from the
  appropriate digest.

Digest Name:  daily HP-UX security bulletins digest
   Created:  Wed Apr 24  3:00:03 PDT 2002

Table of Contents:

Document ID      Title
---------------  -----------
HPSBUX0204-191   Sec. Vulnerability in passwd(1)

The documents are listed below.

Document ID:  HPSBUX0204-191
Date Loaded:  20020423
     Title:  Sec. Vulnerability in passwd(1)


  Originally issued: 23 April 2002

The information in the following Security Bulletin should be acted
upon as soon as possible.  Hewlett-Packard Company will not be
liable for any consequences to any customer resulting from customer's
failure to fully implement instructions in this Security Bulletin as
soon as possible.

PROBLEM:  password file corruption using passwd(1)

PLATFORM: HP 9000 Servers running HP-UX releases 11.00 and 11.11 only.

DAMAGE:   Possible denial-of-service, corruption.

SOLUTION: Apply the appropriate patches for HP-UX releases:
                  PHCO_25527    11.00
                  PHCO_26904    11.04 (VVOS)
                  PHCO_24839    11.11


AVAILABILITY:   Patches are available now.


A. Background
   Hewlett-Packard Company has learned of a defect in use of the
   passwd(1) command on HP-UX 11.00 and 11.11.

B. Fixing the problem
  The recommended solution is to install the patch as detailed below.
                  PHCO_25527    11.00
                  PHCO_26904    11.04 (VVOS)
                  PHCO_24839    11.11

C. To subscribe to automatically receive future NEW HP Security
  Bulletins from the HP IT Resource Center via electronic
  mail, do the following:

   Use your browser to get to the HP IT Resource Center page at:

    Use the 'Login' tab at the left side of the screen to login
   using your ID and password.  Use your existing login or the
   "Register" button at the left to create a login, in order to
   gain access to many areas of the ITRC.  Remember to save the
   User ID assigned to you, and your password.

    In the left most frame select "Maintenance and Support".

    Under the "Notifications" section (near the bottom of
   the page), select "Support Information Digests".

    To -subscribe- to future HP Security Bulletins or other
   Technical Digests, click the check box (in the left column)
   for the appropriate digest and then click the "Update
   Subscriptions" button at the bottom of the page.


    To -review- bulletins already released, select the link
   (in the middle column) for the appropriate digest.

    To -gain access- to the Security Patch Matrix, select
   the link for "The Security Bulletins Archive".  (near the
   bottom of the page)  Once in the archive the third link is
   to the current Security Patch Matrix. Updated daily, this
   matrix categorizes security patches by platform/OS release,
   and by bulletin topic.  Security Patch Check completely
   automates the process of reviewing the patch matrix for
   11.XX systems.

    For information on the Security Patch Check tool, see:"

    The security patch matrix is also available via anonymous

    On the "Support Information Digest Main" page:
   click on the "HP Security Bulletin Archive".

D. To report new security vulnerabilities, send email to

   Please encrypt any exploit information using the
  security-alert PGP key, available from your local key
  server, or by sending a message with a -subject- (not body)
  of 'get key' (no quotes) to

   Permission is granted for copying and circulating this
  Bulletin to Hewlett-Packard (HP) customers (or the Internet
  community) for the purpose of alerting them to problems,
  if and only if, the Bulletin is not edited or changed in
  any way, is attributed to HP, and provided such reproduction
  and/or distribution is performed for non-commercial purposes.

   Any other use of this information is prohibited. HP is not
  liable for any misuse of this information by any third party.
-----End of Document ID:  HPSBUX0204-191--------------------------------------

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.

CVSS Metrics

Group Score Vector



This document was written by Ian A. Finlay.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2002-0577
Severity Metric: 2.95
Date Public: 2002-04-24
Date First Published: 2003-08-19
Date Last Updated: 2003-08-19 13:56 UTC
Document Revision: 6

Sponsored by CISA.