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Home : Advisories : xfce allows local X session compromise

Title: xfce allows local X session compromise
Released by: FreeBSD
Date: 6th November 2000
Printable version: Click here


FreeBSD-SA-00:65                                           Security Advisory

                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          xfce allows local X session compromise

Category:       ports

Module:         xfce

Announced:      2000-11-06

Credits:        Nicholas Brawn 

Affects:        Ports collection prior to the correction date.

Corrected:      2000-11-01

Vendor status:  Updated version released

FreeBSD only:   NO

I.   Background

xfce is a window manager/desktop environment for the X Windows system.

II.  Problem Description

Versions of xfce prior to 3.52 contain a startup script which

incorrectly allows access to the X display to all other users on the

local system. Such users are able to monitor and control the contents

of the display window as well as monitoring input from keyboard and

mouse devices. For example, this allows them to monitor passphrases

typed into a terminal window, among other possibilities.

The xfce port is not installed by default, nor is it "part of FreeBSD"

as such: it is part of the FreeBSD ports collection, which contains

over 4100 third-party applications in a ready-to-install format. The

ports collections shipped with FreeBSD 3.5.1 and 4.1.1 are vulnerable

to this problem since it was discovered after the releases, but it was

corrected prior to the release of FreeBSD 4.2.

FreeBSD makes no claim about the security of these third-party

applications, although an effort is underway to provide a security

audit of the most security-critical ports.

III. Impact

Local users can monitor and control the contents of the X display

running xfce, as well as input devices such as mice and keyboards.

IV.  Workaround

Deinstall the xfce port/package, if you you have installed it, or

remove the lines containing 'xhost +$HOSTNAME' in the following files:



V.   Solution

One of the following:

1) Upgrade your entire ports collection and rebuild the xfce port.

2) Deinstall the old package and install a new package dated after the

correction date, obtained from the following directories:






3) download a new port skeleton for the xfce port from:


and use it to rebuild the port.

4) Use the portcheckout utility to automate option (3) above. The

portcheckout port is available in /usr/ports/devel/portcheckout or the

package can be obtained from:







Version: GnuPG v1.0.4 (FreeBSD)

Comment: For info see http://www.gnupg.org







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