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Category:   Application (E-mail Server)  >   Cyrus IMAP Server Vendors:   Carnegie Mellon University
Cyrus IMAP Server 'Sieve' Buffer Overflows Let Local Users Gain Elevated Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1005737
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   GENERIC-MAP-NOMATCH   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Dec 2 2002
Impact:   Disclosure of user information, Execution of arbitrary code via local system, User access via local system

Version(s): Cyrus IMAP 2.1.10 and prior versions (libSieve 2.1.2 and prior versions)
Description:   Several buffer overflows were reported in the Cyrus IMAP Server's implementation of the Sieve mail filtering language. A local user can execute arbitrary code to gain elevated privileges on the system.

It is reported that a local user can supply the Sieve script with a specially crafted value (> 100 characters of a corrupted header name, > 100 characters of an IMAP flag, or a script containing many errors to result in an error message that exceeds the 500 character limit) to cause arbitrary code to be executed on the system.

Impact:   A local user can execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the Cyrus user account. This can allow the user to read all user mail on the system.
Solution:   No solution was available at the time of this entry. An unofficial patch is available in the Source Message.
Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Any), UNIX (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  Cyrus Sieve / libSieve buffer overflow


Cyrus' Sieve implementation contains a couple of classic string based
buffer overflows in script parsing code. Anyone who can execute Sieve
scripts can exploit these bugs. Versions up to libSieve 2.1.2 and Cyrus
IMAP 2.1.10 are affected.

Note that with Cyrus IMAP server exploiting this gives you the privileges
of Cyrus user, capable of reading all users mails.

Problem comes when giving the script a >100 chars long corrupted header
name, >100 chars long IMAP flag or a script that contains lots of errors
to overflow the 500 char limit in error message.


Apply the included patch. Note that this changes only the yacc files, you
still need to generate .c files from them. libSieve 2.1.3 will hopefully
also contain some more hardening against potential buffer overflows.

diff -ru cyrus-imapd-2.1.10-old/sieve/addr.y cyrus-imapd-2.1.10/sieve/addr.y
--- cyrus-imapd-2.1.10-old/sieve/addr.y	2002-10-28 18:30:18.000000000 +0200
+++ cyrus-imapd-2.1.10/sieve/addr.y	2002-12-02 04:52:58.000000000 +0200
@@ -82,8 +82,9 @@
 /* copy address error message into buffer provided by sieve parser */
 int yyerror(char *s)
-extern char addrerr[];
+extern char addrerr[512];
-    strcpy(addrerr, s);
+    strncpy(addrerr, s, sizeof(addrerr)-1);
+    addrerr[sizeof(addrerr)-1] = '\0';
     return 0;
diff -ru cyrus-imapd-2.1.10-old/sieve/sieve.y cyrus-imapd-2.1.10/sieve/sieve.y
--- cyrus-imapd-2.1.10-old/sieve/sieve.y	2002-05-14 19:51:50.000000000 +0300
+++ cyrus-imapd-2.1.10/sieve/sieve.y	2002-12-02 03:57:17.000000000 +0200
@@ -810,7 +810,7 @@
     addrptr = s;
     addrerr[0] = '\0';	/* paranoia */
     if (addrparse()) {
-	sprintf(errbuf, "address '%s': %s", s, addrerr);
+	snprintf(errbuf, sizeof(errbuf), "address '%s': %s", s, addrerr);
 	return 0;
@@ -835,7 +835,7 @@
 	   ;  controls, SP, and
 	   ;  ":". */
 	if (!((*h >= 33 && *h <= 57) || (*h >= 59 && *h <= 126))) {
-	    sprintf(errbuf, "header '%s': not a valid header", hdr);
+	    snprintf(errbuf, sizeof(errbuf), "header '%s': not a valid header", hdr);
 	    return 0;
@@ -853,14 +853,14 @@
 	if (strcmp(f, "\\seen") && strcmp(f, "\\answered") &&
 	    strcmp(f, "\\flagged") && strcmp(f, "\\draft") &&
 	    strcmp(f, "\\deleted")) {
-	    sprintf(errbuf, "flag '%s': not a system flag", f);
+	    snprintf(errbuf, sizeof(errbuf), "flag '%s': not a system flag", f);
 	    return 0;
 	return 1;
     if (!imparse_isatom(f)) {
-	sprintf(errbuf, "flag '%s': not a valid keyword", f);
+	snprintf(errbuf, sizeof(errbuf), "flag '%s': not a valid keyword", f);
 	return 0;


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