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SuSE Security Announcement
Date: Tue Aug 12 18:15:00 CEST 2003
Affected products: 7.2, 7.3, 8.0, 8.1, 8.2
SuSE Linux Database Server,
SuSE eMail Server III, 3.1
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7, 8
SuSE Linux Firewall on CD/Admin host
SuSE Linux Connectivity Server
SuSE Linux Office Server
SuSE Linux Openexchange Server
SuSE Linux Desktop 1.0
United Linux 1.0
Vulnerability Type: local privilege escalation,
remote Denial of Service (DoS)
Severity (1-10): 7
SuSE default package: yes
Cross References: CAN-2003-0476
Content of this advisory:
1) security vulnerability resolved: a race condition in the ELF loader,
a minor information leakage problem in the proc-fs,
re-binding problem of UDP port 2049 sockets,
DoS in netfilter and NFSv3 code
2) pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds:
- KDE config files
- several minor bug fixes
3) standard appendix (further information)
1) problem description, brief discussion, solution, upgrade information
During the last weeks a couple of security relevant fixes have been
accumulated for the kernel. These fix local vulnerabilities and
remote DoS conditions. The list of the fixed vulnerabilities is
- fix for a possible denial of service attack (DoS) in the routing code
- fix for a possible attack of an unpriviledged user via ioport
- fix for a re-binding problem of UDP port 2049 (NFS) sockets
- fix for a kernel panic with pptpd when mss > mtu
- fix for console redirect bug
- fix for the execve() file read race vulnerability
- fix for several race conditions in procfs
- fix for possible DoS in netfilter code
- fix for possible DoS in NFSv3 code
Not all kernel-versions are affected by all of these vulnerabilities.
However, since there is no easy workaround for all of the vulnerabilities,
we recommend an update of the kernel package.
Please follow the steps in the "SPECIAL INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS" section to
update your system.
Note: Managing the necessary patches, building and mostly testing
kernel update packages is an extremely worksome and therefore also
time-consuming process. SuSE wishes to provide the same quality and
reliability in update packages as customers are used to from the
shipped original products. Even though our kernel updates are
thoroughly tested, the numerous possible hardware configurations for the
x86 platform give a certain probability for a functional failure of
parts of the kernel after the update has been performed. Some of the
possible failures cannot be handled by SuSE by definition. These
include (and are not limited to) possible problems with NVIDIA chipset
graphics boards that make use of hardware 3D acceleration.
SuSE cannot deliver the binary only driver for the NVIDIA graphics
boards in the kernel RPM. It is known that the NVIDIA hardware acceleration
will not continue to work after a reboot, resulting in a failure to start
the X-server. Hardware acceleration support for NVIDIA graphics chipsets on
SuSE Linux 8.1 and 8.2 will be automatically disabled if the kernel update
is performed by YOU (Yast Online Update). If you are committing the update
by hand (necessary for SuSE Linux 8.0 and older), you should either turn
off hardware acceleration support for your X Server configuration, or you
may want to link the acceleration driver with binaries directly from
nvidia's ftp server yourself, using the provided kernel-source RPM package.
The kernel of a Linux system is the most critical component with respect
to stability, reliability and security. By consequence, an update of that
component requires some care and full attention to succeed.
SPECIAL INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS:
The following paragraphs will guide you through the installation
process in a step-by-step fashion. The character sequence "****"
marks the beginning of a new paragraph. In some cases, you decide
if the paragraph is needed for you or not. Please read through all
of the steps down to the end. All of the commands that need to be
executed are required to be run as the superuser (root). Each step
relies on the steps before to complete successfully.
**** Step 1: Determine the needed kernel type
Please use the following command to find the kernel type that is
installed on your system:
rpm -qf /boot/vmlinuz
The following options are possible (disregarding the version and build
number following the name, separated by the "-" character):
k_deflt # default kernel, good for most systems.
k_i386 # kernel for older processors and chipsets
k_athlon # kernel made specifically for AMD Athlon(tm) family processors
k_psmp # kernel for Pentium-I dual processor systems
k_smp # kernel for SMP systems (Pentium-II and above)
**** Step 2: Download the package for your system
Please download the kernel RPM package for your distribution with the
name starting as indicated by Step 1. The list of all kernel rpm
packages is appended below. Note: The kernel-source package does not
contain any binary kernel in bootable form. Instead, it contains the
sources that the binary kernel rpm packages are made from. It can be
used by administrators who have decided to build their own kernel.
Since the kernel-source.rpm is an installable (compiled) package that
contains sources for the linux kernel, it is not the source RPM for
the kernel RPM binary packages.
The kernel RPM binary packages for the distributions can be found at these
locations under ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/update/
After downloading the kernel RPM package for your system, you should
verify the authenticity of the kernel rpm package using the methods as
listed in section 3) of each SuSE Security Announcement.
**** Step 3: Installing your kernel rpm package
Install the rpm package that you have downloaded in Steps 3 or 4 with
rpm -Uhv --nodeps --force
where is the name of the rpm package that you downloaded.
Warning: After performing this step, your system will likely not be
able to boot if the following steps have not been fully
If you run SuSE Linux 8.1 and use the freeswan package, you also need
to update the freeswan rpm as a dependency as offered by YOU (Yast
Online Update). The package can be downloaded from
**** Step 4: configuring and creating the initrd
The initrd is a ramdisk that is being loaded into the memory of your
system together with the kernel boot image by the bootloader. The
kernel uses the content of this ramdisk to execute commands that must
be run before the kernel can mount its actual root filesystem. It is
usually used to initialize scsi drivers or NIC drivers for diskless
The variable INITRD_MODULES (set in the files /etc/rc.config up to
7.3) or /etc/sysconfig/kernel (after and including 8.0)) determines
which kernel modules will be loaded in the initrd before the kernel
has mounted its actual root filesystem. The variable should contain
your scsi adapter (if any) or filesystem driver modules.
With the installation of the new kernel, the initrd has to be
re-packed with the update kernel modules. Please run the command
as root to create a new init rmadisk (initrd) for your system.
**** Step 5: bootloader
If you have a 7.x system, you must now run the command
as root to initialize the lilo bootloader for your system. Then
proceed to the next step.
If you run a SuSE Linux 8.x or a SLES8 system, there are two options:
Depending on your software configuration, you have the lilo bootloader
or the grub bootloader installed and initialized on your system.
The grub bootloader does not require any further actions to be
performed after the new kernel images have been moved in place by the
rpm Update command.
If you have a lilo bootloader installed and initialized, then the lilo
program must be run as root. Use the command
grep LOADER_TYPE /etc/sysconfig/bootloader
to find out which boot loader is configured. If it is lilo, then you
must run the lilo command as root. If grub is listed, then your system
does not require any bootloader initialization.
Warning: An improperly installed bootloader may render your system
**** Step 6: reboot
If all of the steps above have been successfully applied to your
system, then the new kernel including the kernel modules and the
initrd should be ready to boot. The system needs to be rebooted for
the changes to become active. Please make sure that all steps are
complete, then reboot using the command
shutdown -r now
Your system should now shut down and reboot with the new kernel.
Download sources for all kernel RPM packages:
Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages
are being offered to install from the maintenance web.
Due to the large amount of package-names you will not find the usual
list of package-names with the corresponding MD5 sums here. However the
integrity of the packages is ensured and can be verified as described in
2) Pending vulnerabilities in SuSE Distributions and Workarounds:
The X truetype font-server can be crashed my sending
malicious packets over the network. It may even be
possible to execute arbitrary commands with the
privileges of the xfstt server.
Update packages are available on our FTP servers now.
New heartbeat packages which fix an overflow are available on our
- KDE config files
Due to an mistake some files in /etc/opt/kde3/share/config/
of SuSe Linux 8.2 are world-writeable. Under certain
circumstances these files can be used to gain higher
privileges. Please add an entry for each file in your
/etc/permissions.local file. Example:
/etc/opt/kde3/share/config/kmailrc root.root 0644
This bug was reported by nordi .
- several minor bug fixes
There are alot more minor security updates in the queue. YOU (Yast
Online Update) will inform you when they appear. Alternatively you
may want to monitor the following website:
3) standard appendix: authenticity verification, additional information
- Package authenticity verification:
SuSE update packages are available on many mirror ftp servers all over
the world. While this service is being considered valuable and important
to the free and open source software community, many users wish to be
sure about the origin of the package and its content before installing
the package. There are two verification methods that can be used
independently from each other to prove the authenticity of a downloaded
file or rpm package:
1) md5sums as provided in the (cryptographically signed) announcement.
2) using the internal gpg signatures of the rpm package.
1) execute the command
after you downloaded the file from a SuSE ftp server or its mirrors.
Then, compare the resulting md5sum with the one that is listed in the
announcement. Since the announcement containing the checksums is
cryptographically signed (usually using the key email@example.com),
the checksums show proof of the authenticity of the package.
We disrecommend to subscribe to security lists which cause the
email message containing the announcement to be modified so that
the signature does not match after transport through the mailing
Downsides: You must be able to verify the authenticity of the
announcement in the first place. If RPM packages are being rebuilt
and a new version of a package is published on the ftp server, all
md5 sums for the files are useless.
2) rpm package signatures provide an easy way to verify the authenticity
of an rpm package. Use the command
rpm -v --checksig
to verify the signature of the package, where is the
filename of the rpm package that you have downloaded. Of course,
package authenticity verification can only target an un-installed rpm
a) gpg is installed
b) The package is signed using a certain key. The public part of this
key must be installed by the gpg program in the directory
~/.gnupg/ under the user's home directory who performs the
signature verification (usually root). You can import the key
that is used by SuSE in rpm packages for SuSE Linux by saving
this announcement to a file ("announcement.txt") and
running the command (do "su -" to be root):
gpg --batch; gpg < announcement.txt | gpg --import
SuSE Linux distributions version 7.1 and thereafter install the
key "firstname.lastname@example.org" upon installation or upgrade, provided that
the package gpg is installed. The file containing the public key
is placed at the top-level directory of the first CD (pubring.gpg)
and at ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/pubring.gpg-build.suse.de
- SuSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may
- general/linux/SuSE security discussion.
All SuSE security announcements are sent to this list.
To subscribe, send an email to
- SuSE's announce-only mailing list.
Only SuSE's security announcements are sent to this list.
To subscribe, send an email to
For general information or the frequently asked questions (faq)
send mail to:
SuSE's security contact is or .
The public key is listed below.
The information in this advisory may be distributed or reproduced,
provided that the advisory is not modified in any way. In particular,
it is desired that the clear-text signature shows proof of the
authenticity of the text.
SuSE Linux AG makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever with respect
to the information contained in this security advisory.
Type Bits/KeyID Date User ID
pub 2048R/3D25D3D9 1999-03-06 SuSE Security Team
pub 1024D/9C800ACA 2000-10-19 SuSE Package Signing Key
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Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: For info see http://www.gnupg.org
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