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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   Netscape Portable Runtime API Vendors:
Netscape Portable Runtime API Environment Variable Lets Local Users Create Arbitrary Files
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1017050
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2006-4842   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Oct 12 2006
Impact:   Modification of system information, Modification of user information, Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 4.6.1, 4.6.2; possibly others
Description:   iDEFENSE reported a vulnerability in the Netscape Portable Runtime (NSPR) API. A local user can gain elevated privileges on the target system.

On UNIX- and Linux-based systems, the software does not properly validate user-supplied environment variables. A local user can supply a specially crafted value to cause the system to create log files. A local user can create or overwrite arbitrary files on the system with root privileges.

Impact:   A local user can gain elevated privileges on the target system.
Solution:   No solution was available at the time of this entry.

[Editor's note: The latest version is 4.6.3. The release notes for version 4.6.3 do not mention this vulnerability.]

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Input validation error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Any), UNIX (Any)

Message History:   This archive entry has one or more follow-up message(s) listed below.
Oct 12 2006 (Sun Issues Fix) Netscape Portable Runtime API Environment Variable Lets Local Users Create Arbitrary Files
Sun has issued a fix for Solaris 10.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDefense Security Advisory 10.11.06: Sun Microsystems Solaris NSPR

Sun Microsystems Solaris NSPR Library Arbitrary File Creation Vulnerability

iDefense Security Advisory 10.11.06
Oct 11, 2006


The Netscape Portable Runtime (NSPR) API allows compliant applications
to use system facilities such as threads, thread synchronization, I/O,
interval timing, atomic operations and several other low-level services
in a platform-independent manner. More information can be found on
Mozilla's website at


Local exploitation of a design error vulnerability in version 4.6.1 of
NSPR, as included with Sun Microsystems Solaris 10, allows attackers to
create or overwrite arbitrary files on the system.

The problem exists because environment variables are used to create log
files. Even when the program is setuid, users can specify a log file
that will be created with elevated privileges.


Exploitation allows local attackers to elevate privileges to root.


iDefense confirmed that Solaris 10 with NSPR version 4.6.1 is vulnerable
to privilege escalation. Additionally, iDefense has also confirmed via
the source code that version 4.6.2 does not address the vulnerability.


iDefense is currently unaware of any effective workaround for this


Sun Microsystems has addressed this issue with Sun Security Alert 102658
which can be found at:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2006-4842 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


08/31/2006  Initial vendor notification
09/04/2006  Initial vendor response
10/11/2006  Coordinated public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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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
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or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
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