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CA-93:16                         CERT Advisory
                               November 4, 1993
                             Sendmail Vulnerability
- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 *** SUPERSEDED BY CA-95:05 ***

The CERT Coordination Center is working on eliminating a vulnerability in 
sendmail(8). This vulnerability potentially affects all systems running 
sendmail. 

CERT is working with the vendor community to address this vulnerability.  At 
this time, there are no known patches available for any vendor implementation 
that fully address this vulnerability.  Until there is complete vendor 
information, CERT recommends that all implementations of sendmail be 
considered susceptible.

This advisory supersedes the sendmail portion of the CERT advisory (CA-93:15) 
of October 21, 1993.

CERT will continue to work with the vendors and will alert the community
when patches become available.

Included with this advisory is an appendix describing tips that can be used 
by system administrators who are concerned about the possible exploitation 
of this vulnerability at their site.

- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I.   Description

     A vulnerability exists in most versions of sendmail that allows
     unauthorized remote or local users to execute programs as any system
     user other than root.

     This vulnerability affects the final destination sendmail host
     and can be exploited through an intermediate mail machine.  Therefore,
     all sendmail recipient machines within a domain are potentially 
     vulnerable.


II.  Impact
     
     Anyone (remote or local) can execute programs on the affected hosts
     as any userid other than root.


III. Approaches

     CERT suggests three possible approaches to this problem.  Although
     these approaches address all known aspects of this vulnerability,
     they are suggested only until vendor patches for this sendmail
     vulnerability are available.

     Familiarity with sendmail and its installation and configuration,
     is recommended before implementing these modifications.
  
     In order to protect your entire site it is necessary to apply the selected
     approach to *ALL* systems running sendmail at the site, and not just 
     the mail hub.

     A.  Approach 1

         This approach involves modifying the sendmail configuration
         to restrict the sendmail program mailer facility.
 
         To restrict sendmail's program mailer facility, obtain
         and install the sendmail restricted shell program (smrsh 1.2) 
         by Eric Allman (the original author of sendmail), following the 
         directions included with the program. 
  
         1.  Where to obtain the program
  
             Copies of this program may be obtained via anonymous FTP from
             info.cert.org, in the /pub/tools/smrsh directory, or via 
             anonymous FTP from ftp.uu.net in the /pub/security/smrsh
             directory.

             Checksum information:

                               BSD Sum
             30114 5 README
             25757 2 smrsh.8
             46786 5 smrsh.c

                             System V Sum
             56478 10 README
             42281 4 smrsh.8
             65517 9 smrsh.c

                             MD5 Checksum
             MD5 (README) = fc4cf266288511099e44b664806a5594
             MD5 (smrsh.8) = 35aeefba9714f251a3610c7b1714e355
             MD5 (smrsh.c) = d4822ce7c273fc8b93c68e39ec67739c


         2.  Impacts of this approach 
  
             While this approach allows a site to specify which programs
             can be run by sendmail (e.g. vacation(1)), attempts to invoke 
             programs that are not included in the allowed set, or attempts
             using shell meta-characters (see smrsh program listing for a 
             complete set of disallowed characters), will fail, resulting in 
             log output to the syslog(3) facility.  Programs that are specified 
             in a site's /etc/aliases file should be considered for inclusion 
             in the allowable program list.
  
             Since .forward files allow user-specified programs to be 
             run by sendmail, a survey of the contents of the system's 
             .forward files may be required to prevent failure to deliver
             user mail.
  
             *** WARNING ***************************************************
             * It is very important that sites *NOT* include interpreter   * 
             * programs (e.g. /bin/sh, /bin/csh, /bin/perl, /bin/uudecode, *
             * /bin/sed, ...) in the list of allowed programs.             *
             ***************************************************************

     B.  Approach 2

         Like approach 1, this approach involves modifying the sendmail
         configuration.  However, this approach completely disables the 
         sendmail program mailer facility.  This is a drastic, but quick 
         action that can be taken while a site installs one of the
         other suggestions.  Before implementing this approach, save a copy
         of the current sendmail configuration file.

         To implement this approach edit the sendmail.cf file:
 
         change from:
         Mprog,  P=/bin/sh,      F=slFDM,        S=10,   R=20,   A=sh -c $u

         to:
         Mprog, P=/bin/false,    F=,     S=10,   R=20,   A=

         Any changes to the sendmail.cf file will require that the 
         sendmail process be restarted to ensure that the new configuration
         is used. See item 3 in Appendix A for more details.

         1.  Impacts of this approach

             Attempts to invoke programs through sendmail will not
             be successful.

     C.  Approach 3

         To the best of our knowledge, Eric Allman's public domain 
         implementation of sendmail, sendmail 8.6.4, does not appear to
         be susceptible to this vulnerability.  A working solution would 
         then be to replace a site's sendmail, with sendmail 8.6.4.

         1.  Where to obtain the program

             Copies of this version of sendmail may be obtained via
             anonymous FTP from ftp.cs.berkeley.edu in the 
             /ucb/sendmail directory.

             Checksum information:

                                BSD Sum 
             sendmail.8.6.4.base.tar.Z:      07718 428
             sendmail.8.6.4.cf.tar.Z:        28004 179
             sendmail.8.6.4.misc.tar.Z:      57299 102
             sendmail.8.6.4.xdoc.tar.Z:      33954 251

                             System V Sum
             64609 856 sendmail.8.6.4.base.tar.Z
             42112 357 sendmail.8.6.4.cf.tar.Z
             8101 203 sendmail.8.6.4.misc.tar.Z
             50037 502 sendmail.8.6.4.xdoc.tar.Z

                             MD5 Checksum
             MD5 (sendmail.8.6.4.base.tar.Z) = 59727f2f99b0e47a74d804f7ff654621
             MD5 (sendmail.8.6.4.cf.tar.Z) = cb7ab7751fb8b45167758e9485878f6f
             MD5 (sendmail.8.6.4.misc.tar.Z) = 8eaa6fbe9e9226667f719af0c1bde755
             MD5 (sendmail.8.6.4.xdoc.tar.Z) = a9da24e504832f21a3069dc2151870e6


         2.  Impacts of this workaround

             Depending upon the currently installed sendmail program, 
             switching to a different sendmail may require significant 
             effort for the system administrator to become familiar with 
             the new program.  The site's sendmail configuration file 
             may require considerable modification in order to provide 
             existing functionality. In some cases, the site's sendmail 
             configuration file may be incompatible with the sendmail 8.6.4 
             configuration file.


- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
The CERT Coordination Center wishes to thank the members of the following
response teams for their assistance in analyzing and testing both the 
problem and the solutions: SERT, ASSIST, CIAC, and DFN-CERT.  CERT would
especially like to thank Eric Allman, Matt Blaze, Andy Sherman, Gene Spafford,
Tim Seaver, and many others who have provided technical assistance with 
this effort.
- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you believe that your system has been compromised, contact the CERT
Coordination Center or your representative in Forum of Incident
Response and Security Teams (FIRST).

Internet E-mail: cert@cert.org
Telephone: 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline)
           CERT personnel answer 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EST(GMT-5)/EDT(GMT-4),
           and are on call for emergencies during other hours.

CERT Coordination Center
Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Past advisories, information about FIRST representatives, and other
information related to computer security are available via anonymous FTP
from info.cert.org.



Appendix A

This appendix describes tips that can be used by system administrators
who are concerned about the possible exploitation of this vulnerability at 
their site.


There are two actions that can be taken by system administrators to try
to detect the exploitation of this vulnerability at their sites. 

  - Examine all bounced mail to look for unusual occurrences.
  - Examine syslog files for unusual occurrences of "|" characters

In order to do this, sendmail must be configured to direct bounced mail to 
the postmaster (or other designated person who will examine the bounced mail). 
Sendmail must also be configured to provide adequate logging.  

1)  To direct bounced mail to the postmaster, place the following entry in 
    the options part of the general configuration information section of 
    the sendmail.cf file. 

    # Cc my postmaster on error replies I generate
    OPpostmaster

2)  To set sendmail's logging level, place the following entry in the options 
    part of the general configuration information section of the sendmail.cf 
    file. Note that the logging level should be 9 or higher in order to provide
    adequate logging.
 
    # log level
    OL9

3)  Once changes have been made in the sendmail configuration file,
    it will be necessary to kill all existing sendmail processes,
    refreeze the configuration file (if needed - see the note below), 
    and restart the sendmail program.

    Here is an example from SunOS 4.1.2:

    As root:

    # /usr/bin/ps -aux | /usr/bin/grep sendmail
    root 130  0.0  0.0  168    0 ?  IW   Oct  2  0:10 /usr/lib/sendmail -bd -q
    # /bin/kill -9 130                (kill the current sendmail process)
    # /usr/lib/sendmail -bz           (create the configuration freeze file)
    # /usr/lib/sendmail -bd -q30m     (run the sendmail daemon)


**Note: Some sites do not use frozen configuration files and some do. If
  your site is using frozen configuration files, there will be a file
  named sendmail.fc in the same directory as the sendmail configuration
  file (sendmail.cf). 


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