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Category:   OS (UNIX)  >   IBM AIX Vendors:   IBM
IBM AIX rdist Command Lets Local Users Overwrite Arbitrary Files
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1016922
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2006-5004   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  Jun 3 2008
Original Entry Date:  Sep 26 2006
Impact:   Denial of service via local system, Modification of system information, Modification of user information
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 5.2, 5.3
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in IBM AIX in the rdist command. A local user can overwrite arbitrary files.

A local user can exploit a flaw in 'usr/bin/rdist' to overwrite arbitrary files on the target system.

The '/usr/sbin/rdist' command is not affected.

The '' fileset is affected.

Impact:   A local user can overwrite arbitrary files on the target system, causing denial of service conditions.
Solution:   IBM has issued the following fixes:

APAR number for AIX 5.2.0: IY88688 (available)
APAR number for AIX 5.3.0: IY88687 (available approx. 10/04/06)

Interim fixes are available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Not specified
Underlying OS:  

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Date:  Mon, 25 Sep 2006 20:55:11 -0400
Subject:  IBM AIX rdist vulnerability

Hash: SHA1


First Issued: Mon Sep 25 10:00 CDT 2006
                           VULNERABILITY SUMMARY

VULNERABILITY:      A vulnerability in the rdist command may allow a user
                    to overwrite an arbitrary file.

PLATFORMS:          AIX 5.2 and 5.3.

SOLUTION:           Apply the APAR, interim fix or workaround as 
		    described below.

THREAT:             A local user may overwrite an arbitrary file
                    resulting in a denial of service.

CERT VU Number:     n/a
CVE Number:         n/a
                           DETAILED INFORMATION

I.  Description

A vulnerability has been discovered in the rdist command that may allow a
local user to overwrite an arbitrary file. The rdist command maintains
identical copies of files on multiple hosts. This vulnerability pertains to
/usr/bin/rdist. It does not pertain to /usr/sbin/rdist.

rdist ships as part of the fileset. Executing the
following command will list the fileset along with its version information,
state, type and a description if it is installed:

# lslpp -L

The following table shows the vulnerable versions of

AIX Release          Lower         Upper
                     Level         Level
AIX 5.2    
AIX 5.3    

II. Impact

A local user may execute arbitrary code as the root user.

III.  Solutions


IBM provides the following fixes:

      APAR number for AIX 5.2.0:  IY88688 (available)
      APAR number for AIX 5.3.0:  IY88687 (available approx. 10/04/06)

NOTE: Affected customers are urged to upgrade to the latest applicable
Technology Level.

B. Interim Fix

Interim fixes are available. The interim fixes can be downloaded via ftp

This is a compressed tarball containing this advisory, interim fix packages
and cleartext PGP signatures for each package.

Verify you have retrieved the fixes intact:
The interim fixes below are named by using the APAR corresponding to the
release that the fix applies to. The APAR is followed by an underscore and
the Technology Level for the particular AIX release that a fix applies to.

The checksums below were generated using the "sum" and "md5sum" commands
and are as follows:

Filename                   sum           md5
IY88688_07.060828.epkg.Z   64303    78   218750f34da5de39fd31ffcf6f72708b
IY88688_08.060920.epkg.Z   18481    78   d4c0551ae0f6a5ea73f8cba02995eb69
IY88688_09.060828.epkg.Z   48230    80   e37e8b0914db32c71f47064a36ab638a
IY88687_03.060828.epkg.Z   21740    79   0f433db52a3ea04311d2fd72b30f11f6
IY88687_04.060828.epkg.Z   12022    79   8559a845f365715b3b3b957ab603016f
IY88687_05.060908.epkg.Z   33493    79   a10ac1b45eb6efdf60c16a89d985e2b4

These sums should match exactly. The PGP signatures in the compressed
tarball and on this advisory can also be used to verify the integrity of
the various files they correspond to. If the sums or signatures cannot be
confirmed, double check the command results and the download site address.
If those are OK, contact IBM AIX Security at
and describe the discrepancy.

The interim fixes include prerequisite checking. This will ensure the
correct mapping between the interim fixes and AIX Technology Levels. The
following table shows the prerequisite fileset levels required for the
fixes above. The fileset levels listed are for

Interim                    Fileset Level     Fileset Level
Fix                        (lower limit)     (upper limit)

IMPORTANT: If possible, it is recommended that a mksysb backup of the
system is created. Verify it is both bootable, and readable before

Customers may contact IBM support if any issues arise with these interim

Interim Installation Instructions:

These packages use the new Interim Fix Management Solution to install and
manage interim fixes. More information can be found at:

To preview an epkg interim fix installation execute the following command:

# emgr -e ipkg_name -p       # where ipkg_name is the name of the
                             # interim fix package being previewed.

To install an epkg interim fix package, execute the following command:

# emgr -e ipkg_name -X       # where ipkg_name is the name of the
                             # interim fix package being installed.

The "X" flag will expand any filesystems if required.

C. Workaround

Remove the setuid root bit. Note that this will prevent rdist from
functioning normally for non-root users. This can be done by executing the
following command:

# chmod 555 /usr/bin/rdist 

Verify the changes:

# ls -la /usr/bin/rdist   
- -r-xr-xr-x   1 root     bin           58542 May 13 2004  /usr/bin/rdist

IV. Obtaining Fixes

AIX Version 5 APARs can be downloaded from:

Security related Interim Fixes can be downloaded from:

V.  Contact Information

If you would like to receive AIX Security Advisories via email, please

Comments regarding the content of this announcement can be directed to:

To request the PGP public key that can be used to communicate securely
with the AIX Security Team send email to
with a subject of "get key". The key can also be downloaded from a PGP
Public Key Server. The key id is 0x1B14F299.

Please contact your local IBM AIX support center for any assistance.

eServer is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation.
IBM, AIX and pSeries are registered trademarks of International Business
Machines Corporation. All other trademarks are property of their respective
Version: GnuPG v1.4.3 (GNU/Linux)


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