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Home : Advisories : Security vulnerability in Netscape

Title: Security vulnerability in Netscape
Released by: SuSE
Date: 23rd August 2000
Printable version: Click here


                        SuSE Security Announcement

        Package:                Netscape, Versions 4.x, possibly others

        Date:                   Wednesday, August 23rd, 2000 03:30 MEST

        Affected SuSE versions: All

        Vulnerability Type:     remote file viewing, remote buffer overflow

        Severity (1-10):        4,                   7

        SuSE default package:   yes

        Other affected systems: all linux systems using this package

    Content of this advisory:

        1) security vulnerability resolved: Netscape

           problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information

        2) Correction/apology for perl thread, pending vulnerabilities,

           temporary workarounds

        3) standard appendix (further information)


1)  problem description, brief discussion, solution, upgrade information

    Two security problems exist in the netscape package as shipped with

    SuSE Linux distributions.

    a) Improper verification in Netscape's jpeg processing code can lead

    to a buffer overflow where data read from the network can overwrite

    memory. As a result, arbitrary code from a remote origin could be

    executed. The attack is particularly dangerous since it can penetrate

    firewall setups. Netscape version 4.74 fixes (fixed) this


    b) Due to an error in the java implementation in Netscape, it is

    possible for an attacker to view files and directories with the

    priviledges of the user running Netscape if the user visits a

    malisciously crafted webpage. This issue is known as "Brown

    Orifice" and requires the user to have Java enabled in her browser

    configuration. Again, this attack can penetrate firewall setups.

    See http://www.brumleve.com/BrownOrifice for details.

    Problem a) can be circumvented by disabling the automatic image

    loading in Netscape's configuration.

    The temporary workaround for problem b) is to disable Java in

    Netscape's configuration menu (to protect against other

    vulnerabilities, disable JavaScript, too!). Both countermeasures

    may widely be found inacceptable.

    SuSE provides an updated package for the vulnerable software. It is

    strongly recommended to upgrade to the latest version found on our

    ftp server as described below. The update package introduces

    Netscape version 4.75, including the SuSE-specific libraries that fix

    some of Netscape's "irregular" behaviour. Please note that

    Netscape-4.75 is not available for the glibc-2.0-based SuSE

    Distributions SuSE-6.0 and 6.1 because Netscape doesn't provide

    any files for this glibc version. For these distributions, we

    provide Netscape Version 4.74 which fixes problem a) only.

    Alternatively, the package for the libc5-based SuSE-5.3

    distribution can be used as well if the package 'shlibs5' is

    installed. This is recommended, since the 5.3 package may be

    faster and more reliable.

    Download the update package as described below and install the

    package with the command `rpm -Fhv file.rpm'. The md5sum for each

    file is in the line below. You can verify the integrity of the rpm

    files using the command

        `rpm --checksig --nogpg file.rpm',

    independently from the md5 signatures below.

     Due to US-American export restrictions for cryptographical software,

    we are unable to provide update packages on our US ftp server

    ftp.suse.com. Instead, the packages can be found on ftp.suse.de. For

    bandwidth reasons, please use our mirrors or our primary mirror

    ftp.gwdg.de and follow the directory to your distribution.

    Example: For SuSE-6.4 use the path



    Please note that the path to netscape.rpm in the 6.0 and 6.1 update

    directories point to Netscape version 4.74 which doesn't fix problem b!

    See section above!


    Further mirrors can be found at

    http://www.suse.de/de/support/download/ftp/inland.html, but be

    advised that not all sites mirror the German part of the update


    md5sums for the i386 Intel Platform (the only one supported):

     SuSE Versions 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.0:

        70289f88b4c9fc1a9867ba7dac985982 netscape-4.75.glibc21.i386.rpm

     SuSE Version 5.3 (libc5-based, probably faster, can be used on

     glibc2-based systems if the package shlibs5 is installed)

        679aaf67592244a07733bdabdab67729 netscape-4.75.libc5.i386.rpm

     SuSE Version 6.0 and 6.1, Netscape-4.74 with incomplete fixes:

        4bcc31fe37f7c8d226b437c1daa9b944 netscape-4.74.glibc20.i386.rpm


2)  Correction/Apology: In my posting to suse-security@suse.de and to

    bugtraq@securityfocus.com about the suidperl thread, Subject: "SuSE

    Security Announcement: suidperl (perl)", dated 10 Aug 2000, I wrote:

    "A maliciously implemented feature causes the interpreter to spawn

    the /bin/mail program to"..."

    This is a bad and embarrassing mistake because of a confusion about

    the word "maliciously" in this context - it was meant to read


    I apologize to the perl folks for this mistake.

    Pending vulnerabilities in SuSE Distributions and Workarounds:

    This section addresses currently known vulnerabilities in Linux/Unix

    systems that have not been resolved yet as of the release date of

    this advisory.

    - ntop

        ntop is a network statistics visualization utility which offers

        graphical analysis of network traffic and other statistics with

        a web browser. By default, ntop listens on port 3000 and requires

        no or a commonly known authentication password to view the data.

        ntop is only installed in network server selections and is not

        activated by default in SuSE Linux installations.

        The ntop packages shipped with SuSE Linux did not exhibit the

        unsafe behaviour when a file like /../../etc/passwd is referenced.

        However, Thomas Biege has reviewed the source of the package and

        there are still some potential problems with the package that

        require a major overhaul of the code.

        Currently, we recommend to disable or even remove the ntop package

        (`rpm -e ntop') in an environment where security considerations

        play a role. More information on ntop can be found in

        ntop's documentation directory /usr/doc/packages/ntop or

        /usr/share/doc/packages/ntop for SuSE-7.0.

     - zope

        SuSE distributions before 7.0 do not contain zope as a package.

        An updated package for the freshly released SuSE-7.0 is on the way.

     - xchat

        A fix for the URL handler vulnerabilty is in progress and will

        be released within a few days. There is currently no effective

        and easy workaround other than removing the package by hand

        (`rpm -e xchat'). More information on xchat can be found in

        xchat's documentation directory /usr/doc/packages/xchat or

        /usr/share/doc/packages/xchat for SuSE-7.0.

     - minicom

        SuSE's minicom doesn't exhibit the problem with files created

        belonging to group uucp because /usr/bin/minicom isn't installed

        sgid uucp by default. Changing this to 2755 root.uucp (manually

        and in /etc/permissions) doesn't show any defective behaviour


     - xlockmore: After a review of the relevant part of xlock's code

        we've found that the format string parsing bug posted by

        bind@SUBTERRAIN.NET on bugtraq on August 15th 2000 is not

        critical wrt security. xlock drops all privs as soon as it could

        get hold of the user's encrypted password (which is before it

        crashes). Other encrypted passwords can't be found in xlock's

        memory. Since xlock on SuSE distributions runs sgid shadow, it

        can't dump a core file upon segmentation fault (search

        /usr/src/linux/kernel/sys.c for "dumpable".) and also can't be

        traced (/usr/src/linux/arch/i386/kernel/ptrace.c).

        The bug will be fixed in future releases of the SuSE Linux


     The following packages are not contained in SuSE distributions.

     Therefore, they do not impose any security risks on SuSE systems

     unless an administrator installed (compiled) the vulnerable

     software by hand.

     - FlagShip permissions, from Narrow  on bugtraq dated

       10 Aug 2000

     - VariCAD permissions with RedHat 6.0, from Narrow 

       on bugtraq dated 10 Aug 2000

     - usermode, from Connectiva on bugtraq, dated 2000-08-10

     - gopherd 2.x, from Mike Schiffman 

       (guardent) on bugtraq, dated 10 Aug 2000, + Chris Sharp

        on bugtraq dated 20 Aug 2000.

     - diskcheck perl script, Connectiva sec. adv. on bugtraq dated


     - Statistics Server 5.02x, overflow, from |Zan  on

       bugtraq, dated 10 Aug 2000

     - Helix GNOME Updater (helix-update), versions 0.1 through 0.5, from

       HELIX CODE, INC., on bugtraq, dated 20 Aug 2000

     - Darxite overflows, from Guido Bakker  on bugtraq,

       dated 21 Aug 2000

     - Gnome-Lokkit ports left exposed, from Alan Cox

        on bugtraq dated 19 Aug 2000


3)  standard appendix:

    SuSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may



        -   general/linux/SuSE security discussion.

            All SuSE security announcements are sent to this list.

            To subscribe, send an email to



        -   SuSE's announce-only mailing list.

            Only SuSE's security annoucements are sent to this list.

            To subscribe, send an email to


    For general information or the frequently asked questions (faq)

    send mail to:




    SuSE's security contact is .



Roman Drahtmüller.

- - --

 -                                                                      -

| Roman Drahtmüller       //          "Caution: Cape does |

  SuSE GmbH - Security           Phone: //       not enable user to fly."

| Nürnberg, Germany     +49-911-740530 // (Batman Costume warning label) |

 -                                                                      -


    The information in this advisory may be distributed or reproduced,

    provided that the advisory is not modified in any way.

    SuSE GmbH makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever with respect

    to the information contained in this security advisory.

Type Bits/KeyID    Date       User ID

pub  2048/3D25D3D9 1999/03/06 SuSE Security Team 


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