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Category:   Application (E-mail Server)  >   Sendmail Vendors:   Sendmail Consortium
(Conectiva Issues Fix) Sendmail Buffer Overflow in Parsing Certain Header Comments May Let Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code with Root Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1006213
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CAN-2002-1337   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Mar 4 2003
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via local system, Execution of arbitrary code via network, Root access via local system, Root access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 5.79 - 8.12.7
Description:   A buffer overflow vulnerability was reported in the Sendmail mail transfer agent (MTA). A remote user could execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the mail server (typically root privileges)

It is reported that the software contains an exploitable buffer overflow in the parsing of certain SMTP header elements. The report indicates that long sender or recipient header comments may trigger the flaw. A remote user could create a specially crafted message to cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target server. The target server could be the sending MTA, an intermediate MTA, or the destination MTA.

The vendor has labeled this bug as a "critical security problem."

The vendor credits Mark Dowd of ISS X-Force with reporting the flaw.

Another buffer overflow was reported in the processing of RFC 1413 ident protocol messages (this was discovered by a different user). According to the vendor, this is "non-exploitable."

Impact:   A remote user could execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the target server, which is typically root privileges. Any MTA processing the message may be affected.
Solution:   Conectiva has released a fix:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Conectiva)
Underlying OS Comments:  6.0, 7.0, 8

Message History:   This archive entry is a follow-up to the message listed below.
Mar 3 2003 Sendmail Buffer Overflow in Parsing Certain Header Comments May Let Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code with Root Privileges

 Source Message Contents

Date:  Mon, 3 Mar 2003 20:21:06 -0300
Subject:  [conectiva-updates] [CLA-2003:571] Conectiva Linux Security Announcement - sendmail

Hash: SHA1

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

PACKAGE   : sendmail
SUMMARY   : Remote vulnerability
DATE      : 2003-03-03 19:30:00
ID        : CLA-2003:571
RELEASES  : 6.0, 7.0, 8

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

 Sendmail[1] is a widely used Mail Transfer Agent (MTA).
 Researchers at ISS[2] discovered and published[3] a remote
 vulnerability[4][5] in sendmail that could be used by an attacker to
 execute arbitrary code as root.
 This vulnerability can be exploited by creating and sending to a
 vulnerable sendmail server a carefully crafted email message. This
 message will trigger the vulnerability and arbitrary commands can be
 executed with administrative privileges.
 Please note that non-vulnerable mail servers can be used to pass such
 messages along so that, for example, even internal sendmail servers
 could be reached.
 Starting with Conectiva Linux 7.0, sendmail is no longer the default
 mail server and has been replaced with Postfix. But sendmail is still
 shipped in all Conectiva Linux versions.
 As with many other services, the email service, even if installed, is
 not started by default in Conectiva Linux.
 The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned
 the name CAN-2002-1337[7] to this issue.

 All sendmail users should upgrade their packages immediately. After
 the upgrade, the sendmail service will be automatically restarted if
 it was already running.


 Users of Conectiva Linux version 6.0 or higher may use apt to perform 
 upgrades of RPM packages:

 - run:                 apt-get update
 - after that, execute: apt-get upgrade

 Detailed instructions reagarding the use of apt and upgrade examples 
 can be found at

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
All packages are signed with Conectiva's GPG key. The key and instructions
on how to import it can be found at
Instructions on how to check the signatures of the RPM packages can be
found at
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
All our advisories and generic update instructions can be viewed at

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: For info see



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