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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   Ppp Vendors:   Santa Cruz Operations
SCO UnixWare Buffer Overflow in ppp Lets Local Users Gain Root Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1015098
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2005-2927   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Oct 25 2005
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via local system, Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  

Description:   iDEFENSE reported a vulnerability in ppp on SCO UnixWare. A local user can gain root privileges on the target system.

A local user can supply a specially crafted 'prompt' or 'defprompt' command parameter that is greater than 256 bytes in length to trigger a buffer overflow and execute arbitrary code on the target system. The code will run with root user privileges.

The vendor was notified on September 8, 2005.

iDEFENSE Labs discovered this vulnerability.

The original advisory is available at:

Impact:   A local user can execute arbitrary code with root privileges.
Solution:   The vendor has issued the following fixes.

For UnixWare 7.1.4:

Location of Fixed Binaries


MD5 (erg712940.uw714.pkg.Z) = d47a9958e6dfd44c9b95e1d9489011f4

Upgrade the affected binaries with the following sequence:

Download erg712940.uw714.pkg.Z to the /var/spool/pkg directory

# uncompress /var/spool/pkg/erg712940.uw714.pkg.Z
# pkgadd -d /var/spool/pkg/erg712940.uw714.pkg

For UnixWare 7.1.3:

Location of Fixed Binaries


MD5 (erg712940.uw713.pkg.Z) = 474799fc2cda9db5c486880599e1cdcc

Upgrade the affected binaries with the following sequence:

Download erg712940.uw713.pkg.Z to the /var/spool/pkg directory

# uncompress /var/spool/pkg/erg712940.uw713.pkg.Z
# pkgadd -d /var/spool/pkg/erg712940.uw713.pkg

The vendor's advisory is available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  UNIX (Open UNIX-SCO)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDEFENSE Security Advisory 10.24.05: SCO Unixware Setuid ppp prompt

SCO Unixware Setuid ppp prompt Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 10.24.05
October 24, 2005


SCO UnixWare is a UNIX operating system.

More information is available at:


Local exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability in the ppp binary,

as included in multiple versions of The SCO Group Inc.'s Unixware, 
allows attackers to gain root privileges.

The vulnerability specifically exists because of a failure to check the 
length of user input. If the user running the ppp program enters an 
argument to the "prompt" or "defprompt" command that exceeds 256 bytes
length, a stack based overflow occurs. This leads to the execution of 
arbitrary code with root privileges, as ppp is setuid root by default.


Successful exploitation of this vulnerability requires that user have 
local access to the system; it would allow the user to gain superuser 


iDEFENSE has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in SCO 
Unixware versions 7.1.3 and 7.1.4. All versions of SCO Unixware are 
suspected to be vulnerable.


As a workaround solution, remove the setuid bit from the backupsh binary

until a vendor patch can be applied.

  # chmod u-s /usr/bin/ppp 


The vendor has released the following advisory for this issue:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2005-2927 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


09/08/2005  Initial vendor notification
09/09/2005  Initial vendor response
10/24/2005  Public disclosure


iDEFENSE Labs is credited with the discovery of this vulnerability.

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Copyright (c) 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
email for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.

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