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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   Adobe Acrobat/Reader Vendors:   Adobe Systems Incorporated
(SGI Issues Fix for IRIX) Re: Adobe Acrobat Reader for Linux Uses Unsafe Temporary Files
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1005056
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2001-1069   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Aug 15 2002
Impact:   Modification of system information, Modification of user information
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 4.05
Description:   A potential vulnerability was reported in Adobe Acrobat Reader version 4.05 for Linux systems. A user may be able to cause another user to overwrite files.

It is reported that Acrobat Reader (acroread) creates temporary files in /tmp or in the directory specified by the TMP environment variable without determining if the temporary file exists or not.

If a local user can determine the file name that Acrobat will use, the user can create a symbolic link from the temporary file name to another file on the server. Then, if a target (victim) user opens or prints a PDF file, the linked file may be overwritten with the privileges of the target user.

The report did not indicate if the file names used by Acrobat were predictable or not. An example file name is '/tmp/Acro48IBR1'.

Impact:   A local user may be able to cause a target user to overwrite files on the system when the target user opens a PDF file for viewing or printing.
Solution:   SGI will release an updated Acrobat Reader package on the Applications CD as shipped with IRIX 6.5.19.

SGI has also described a workaround (see the Source Message for the workaround).

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error, State error
Underlying OS:  UNIX (SGI/IRIX)
Underlying OS Comments:  6.5.18 and prior versions

Message History:   This archive entry is a follow-up to the message listed below.
Jun 20 2002 Adobe Acrobat Reader for Linux Uses Unsafe Temporary Files

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  Acrobat Reader symlink vulnerability on IRIX



                          SGI Security Advisory

        Title:      Acrobat Reader symlink vulnerability
        Number:     20020806-01-I
        Date:       August 14, 2002
        Reference:  CAN-2001-1069

- -----------------------
- --- Issue Specifics ---
- -----------------------

It's been reported that the 4.05 version of Adobe's Acrobat Reader
("acroread") supplied with IRIX 6.5 creates insecure temporary files:

This is considered to be a low risk vulnerability open to the possibility
of a symlink attack.

SGI has investigated the issue and recommends the following steps for
neutralizing the exposure.  It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that these measures be
implemented on ALL vulnerable SGI systems.

These issues have been corrected in future releases of IRIX.

- --------------
- --- Impact ---
- --------------

The /usr/bin/acroread binary is not installed by default on IRIX 6.5
systems, it is part of the optional acrobat.sw.reader package supplied on
the IRIX Applications CD.

To determine the version of IRIX you are running, execute the following

  # uname -R

That will return a result similar to the following:

  # 6.5 6.5.16f

The first number ("6.5") is the release name, the second ("6.5.16f" in this
case) is the extended release name.  The extended release name is the
"version" we refer to throughout this document.

To see if acroread is installed, execute the following command:

$ versions acrobat.sw.reader
I = Installed, R = Removed

   Name                 Date        Description

   I  acrobat              09/19/2000  Adobe Acrobat Reader, 4.05
   I  acrobat.sw           09/19/2000  Acrobat Reader Software, 4.05
   I  acrobat.sw.reader    09/19/2000  Acrobat Reader, 4.05

If the output shows that version 4.05 of the software is installed, the
system is vulnerable.

This vulnerability was assigned the following CVE:

- ----------------------------
- --- Temporary Workaround ---
- ----------------------------

SGI will release an updated Acrobat Reader package on the Applications CD as
shipped with IRIX 6.5.19.  If you want to protect yourself until updating to
6.5.19, or if you simply cannot update to 6.5.19, then installing the
following script will afford you the same protection:

First rename /usr/adobe/Acrobat4.0/bin/acroread to acroread.dist:

  # mv /usr/adobe/Acrobat4.0/bin/acroread

Then insert the following script in its place:

  ------- cut here -----
  #!/bin/sh -fb

  # Acrobat Reader 4.05 (acroread) creates temporary files in /tmp (or
  # in directory pointed by TMP environment variable) insecurely when
  # opening or printing a PDF document.  If we use /tmp malicious users
  # could craft symlinks that caused files to be overwritten.


    export TMPDIR=$MYTMP;
    export TMP=$MYTMP;

  # Create the new ~/.acroread temporary directory if necessary.
  # Let users symlink it to another location if they want.
  # Since the link is in their home directory it should be as
  # trustworthy as anything else.
    if [ ! -e $MYTMP ]; then
      /bin/mkdir -m 700 $MYTMP || exit $?

    exec $PROG ${1+"$@"}
   ------- cut here -----

Install that script as /usr/adobe/Acrobat4.0/bin/acroread

Don't forget to:

  # chmod 755 /usr/adobe/Acrobat4.0/bin/acroread

- ----------------
- --- Solution ---
- ----------------

SGI has not provided patches for this vulnerability. Our recommendation is
to upgrade to IRIX 6.5.19 when it becomes available or use the wrapper
script workaround shown above.

   OS Version     Vulnerable?     Patch #      Other Actions
   ----------     -----------     -------      -------------
   IRIX 3.x        unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 4.x        unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 5.x        unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 6.0.x      unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 6.1        unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 6.2        unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 6.3        unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 6.4        unknown                     Note 1
   IRIX 6.5          yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.1        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.2        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.3        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.4        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.5        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.6        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.7        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.8        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.9        yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.10       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.11       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.12       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.13       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.14       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.15       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.16       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.17       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.18       yes                       Note 2
   IRIX 6.5.19       no


     1) This version of the IRIX operating has been retired. Upgrade to an
        actively supported IRIX operating system.  See for more

     2) Use the wrapper shown above.

- -------------
- --- Links ---
- -------------

SGI Security Advisories can be found at: and

SGI Security Patches can be found at: and

SGI patches for IRIX can be found at the following patch servers: and

SGI freeware updates for IRIX can be found at:

SGI fixes for SGI open sourced code can be found on:

SGI patches and RPMs for Linux can be found at: or

SGI patches for Windows NT or 2000 can be found at:

IRIX 5.2-6.4 Recommended/Required Patch Sets can be found at: and

IRIX 6.5 Maintenance Release Streams can be found at:

IRIX 6.5 Software Update CDs can be obtained from:

The primary SGI anonymous FTP site for security advisories and patches is (  Security advisories and patches are
located under the URL

For security and patch management reasons, (mirrors security FTP repository) lags behind and does not do a
real-time update.

- ------------------------
- --- Acknowledgments ----
- ------------------------

SGI wishes to thank FIRST and the users of the Internet Community at large
for their assistance in this matter.

- -----------------------------------------
- --- SGI Security Information/Contacts ---
- -----------------------------------------

If there are questions about this document, email can be sent to


SGI provides security information and patches for use by the entire SGI
community.  This information is freely available to any person needing the
information and is available via anonymous FTP and the Web.

The primary SGI anonymous FTP site for security advisories and patches is (  Security advisories and patches are
located under the URL

The SGI Security Headquarters Web page is accessible at the URL:

For issues with the patches on the FTP sites, email can be sent to

For assistance obtaining or working with security patches, please
contact your SGI support provider.


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encourages interested parties to self-subscribe to receive (via email) all
SGI Security Advisories when they are released. Subscribing to the mailing
list can be done via the Web
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% mail
subscribe wiretap <YourEmailAddress>

In the example above, <YourEmailAddress> is the email address that you wish
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SGI provides a comprehensive customer World Wide Web site. This site is
located at .


If there are general security questions on SGI systems, email can be sent to

For reporting *NEW* SGI security issues, email can be sent to or contact your SGI support provider.  A support
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      This information is provided freely to all interested parties
      and may be redistributed provided that it is not altered in any
      way, SGI is appropriately credited and the document retains and
      includes its valid PGP signature.

Version: 2.6.2



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