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Category:   OS (Linux)  >   Ubuntu Installer Vendors:   Ubuntu
Ubuntu Installer Leaves Passwords in Plain Text on the System
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1015761
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   GENERIC-MAP-NOMATCH   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Mar 14 2006
Impact:   Disclosure of authentication information, Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): Ubuntu 5.10
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in the Ubuntu installer. A local user can view root user passwords.

The installer creates a file ('/var/log/installer/cdebconf/questions.dat') on the target system that contains the password for the first user account that is created. This user account has sudo privileges by default. The file is world readable.

The base-config and passwd packages are affected.

The installer for Ubuntu versions 4.10, 5.04, and 6.04 is not affected.

Users that upgraded from Ubuntu 5.10 to the current development version of Ubuntu 6.04 ('Dapper Drake') are affected.

Karl Oie discovered this vulnerability.

Impact:   A local user can obtain the password for a root-privileged user account.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fix. Users can upgrade the affected packages to version 2.67ubuntu20 (base-config) and 1:4.0.3-37ubuntu8 (passwd).

The vendor's advisory is available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  [USN-262-1] Ubuntu 5.10 installer password disclosure

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Ubuntu Security Notice USN-262-1	     March 12, 2006
Ubuntu 5.10 installer vulnerability

A security issue affects the following Ubuntu releases:

Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger)

The following packages are affected:


The problem can be corrected by upgrading the affected package to
version 2.67ubuntu20 (base-config) and 1:4.0.3-37ubuntu8 (passwd).  In
general, a standard system upgrade is sufficient to effect the
necessary changes.

Details follow:

Karl =D8ie discovered that the Ubuntu 5.10 installer failed to clean
passwords in the installer log files. Since these files were
world-readable, any local user could see the password of the first
user account, which has full sudo privileges by default.

The updated packages remove the passwords and additionally make the
log files readable only by root.

This does not affect the Ubuntu 4.10, 5.04, or the upcoming 6.04
installer.  However, if you upgraded from Ubuntu 5.10 to the current
development version of Ubuntu 6.04 ('Dapper Drake'), please ensure
that you upgrade the passwd package to version 1:4.0.13-7ubuntu2 to
fix the installer log files.

  Source archives:
      Size/MD5:      758 c22bb6e3be4d59aa93e84327f60e89ab
      Size/MD5:   577194 99eabbe70227169feaff28ff9062d097
      Size/MD5:  1067297 9db7bb924125a5587380efc08f6787e1
      Size/MD5:      876 50cdfae3bfbe1bb1bb4be192d7de19a7
      Size/MD5:  1045704 b52dfb2e5e8d9a4a2aae0ca1b266c513

  Architecture independent packages:
      Size/MD5:     3298 dd42b2901f6f5d7525083c27cbb23407
      Size/MD5:   291224 e95d7a1d25074ea57d444e817cef1850
      Size/MD5:     1740 6c7bc8e12968d9876b6e1b27f0476484
      Size/MD5:     2760 f6ebc84fd2bff0275b1e64d53fdc9955

  amd64 architecture (Athlon64, Opteron, EM64T Xeon)
      Size/MD5:   180662 de75ded6034f0d7226dfbf0ec66e2be7
      Size/MD5:   589790 f90c48af4e1c55202f22127e72dbf45d

  i386 architecture (x86 compatible Intel/AMD)
      Size/MD5:   171882 347fa929d15c3689bd68fc487cc116c6
      Size/MD5:   515580 b8c965e4a5c40d1c50e8816aeef689bc

  powerpc architecture (Apple Macintosh G3/G4/G5)
      Size/MD5:   179886 42ebfcd496b621bdab29e9a6b3f50522
      Size/MD5:   568426 089edb3f8110ab191bba6d061b199385

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