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  • CERT Advisory CA-1993-11 UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ Vulnerabilities

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Original issue date: August 9, 1993
Last revised: September 19, 1997
Attached copyright statement

A complete revision history is at the end of this file.

The CERT Coordination Center has received information concerning vulnerabilities in versions of the UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ server and client available before August 6, 1993. Vulnerable versions were available on,, and many other anonymous FTP sites mirroring these software versions.

We strongly recommend that any site using versions of UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ dated prior to August 6, 1993 (including version 1.12, 1.12s, 2.0+, 2.03, and all earlier versions) immediately take corrective action.

If you have further questions regarding UMN UNIX gopher or gopher+ software, send e-mail to:

I. Description

Several vulnerabilities have been identified in UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ when configured as a server or public access client.

Intruders are known to have exploited these vulnerabilities to obtain password files. Other actions may also have been taken by intruders exploiting these vulnerabilities. CERT has already contacted those sites currently known to have been victims of these activities. However, sites may want to check for weak passwords, or consider changing passwords, after installing the new gopher software.

II. Impact

Anyone (remote or local) can potentially gain unrestricted access to the account running the public access client, thereby permitting them to read any files accessible to this account (possibly including /etc/passwd or other sensitive files).

In certain configurations, anyone (remote or local) can potentially gain access to any account, including root, on a host configured as a server running gopherd.

III. Solution

Affected sites should consider disabling gopherd service and public gopher logins until they have installed the new software.

New versions of the UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ software have been released that provide bug fixes and correct these security problems. Sites can obtain these new versions via anonymous FTP from ( The files are located in:

     Filename                                Size     Checksum
     --------                                ------   -----------
     /pub/gopher/Unix/gopher1.12S.tar.Z      306872   46311   300
     /pub/gopher/Unix/gopher2.04.tar.Z       294872   29411   288

The CERT Coordination Center wishes to thank Matt Schroth, Williams College, and others for informing us of these vulnerabilities. We would also like to thank Paul Lindner, University of Minnesota, for his quick response to these problems.

Copyright 1993 Carnegie Mellon University.

Revision History
September 19,1997  Attached Copyright Statement
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