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Home : Advisories : xpdf contains multiple vulnerabilities

Title: xpdf contains multiple vulnerabilities
Released by: FreeBSD
Date: 13th October 2000
Printable version: Click here


FreeBSD-SA-00:55                                           Security Advisory

                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          xpdf contains multiple vulnerabilities

Category:       ports

Module:         xpdf

Announced:      2000-10-13

Credits:        Unknown

Affects:        Ports collection prior to the correction date.

Corrected:      2000-09-04 (4.1.1-RELEASE)

Vendor status:  Updated version released

FreeBSD only:   NO

I.   Background

xpdf is a PDF viewer for X Windows.

II.  Problem Description

The xpdf port, versions prior to 0.91, contains a race condition due

to improper handing of temporary files that may allow a local user to

overwrite arbitrary files owned by the user running xpdf.

Additionally, when handling URLs in documents no checking was done for

shell metacharacters before starting the browser. This makes it possible

to construct a document which cause xpdf to run arbitrary commands when

the user views an URL.

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

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

nearly 4000 third-party applications in a ready-to-install format.

The ports collections shipped with FreeBSD 3.5.1 and 4.1 contain this

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

corrected prior to the release of FreeBSD 4.1.1.

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, using a symlink attack, can cause arbitrary files owned

by the user running xpdf to be overwritten. Also, malicious PDFs can

cause arbitrary code to be executed.

If you have not chosen to install the xpdf port/package, then your

system is not vulnerable to this problem.

IV.  Workaround

Deinstall the xpdf port/package, if you you have installed it.

V.   Solution

One of the following:

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

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

correction date, obtained from:






3) download a new port skeleton for the cvsweb 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: 2.6.2







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