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  • CERT Advisory CA-1993-09 SunOS/Solaris /usr/lib/expreserve Vulnerability

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CA-93:09                     CERT Advisory
                             June 11, 1993
            SunOS/Solaris /usr/lib/expreserve Vulnerability 
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                 *** SUPERSEDED BY CA-96.19 ***

The CERT Coordination Center has received information concerning a
vulnerability in /usr/lib/expreserve in Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Sun)
operating system (SunOS).  This vulnerability affects all sun3 and sun4
architectures and supported versions of SunOS including 4.1, 4.1.1, 4.1.2,
4.1.3, Solaris 2.1 (SunOS 5.1), and Solaris 2.2 (SunOS 5.2).
This problem has become widely known and CERT recommends that sites
take action to address this vulnerability as soon as possible.

Sun has produced a patch for SunOS 4.1, 4.1.1, 4.1.2, and 4.1.3 addressing
this vulnerability for sun3 and sun4 architectures.  Sun is developing a
patch for SunOS 5.x/Solaris 2.x systems and it will be released as soon as
testing is complete.  A workaround is provided below that can be used on
all systems, including Solaris, until a patch is available and installed.

The patch can be obtained from local Sun Answer Centers worldwide as
well as through anonymous FTP from the ( system
in the /systems/sun/sun-dist directory.  In Europe, this patch is
available from ( in the /sun/fixes directory.

              Patch ID     Filename             Checksum
              101080-1     101080-1.tar.Z       45221    13

Please note that Sun sometimes updates patch files.  If you find that
the checksum is different please contact Sun or CERT for verification.
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I.   Description

     Expreserve is a utility that preserves the state of a file being
     edited by vi(1) or ex(1) when an edit session terminates abnormally
     or when the system crashes.  A vulnerability exists that allows 
     users to overwrite any file on the system.

II.  Impact

     It is possible to gain root privileges using this vulnerability.

III. Solution

     A.  If you are running SunOS 4.1, 4.1.1, 4.1.2, or 4.1.3, obtain and
         install the patch according to the instructions included with
	 the patch.

     B.  If you are running Solaris install the following workaround.
         This workaround will disable expreserve functionality.
         The result of this workaround is that if vi(1) or ex(1) is running,
         and the sessions are interrupted, the files being edited will not
         be preserved and all edits not explicitly saved by the user will
         be lost.  Users should be encouraged to save their files often.

          As root, remove the execute permissions on the existing
          /usr/lib/expreserve program:

          # /usr/bin/chmod  a-x  /usr/lib/expreserve 
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The CERT Coordination Center wishes to thank Christopher Lott of
Universitaet Kaiserslautern for reporting this vulnerability,
and Sun Microsystems, Inc. for their response to this problem.
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If you believe that your system has been compromised, contact the CERT
Coordination Center or your representative in FIRST (Forum of Incident
Response and Security Teams).

Internet E-mail:
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

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information related to computer security are available for anonymous FTP
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