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AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution
ESB-2000.066 -- FreeBSD-SA-00:12
healthd allows a local root compromise
11 April 2000
The FreeBSD Security Team has released the following advisory concerning a
vulnerability in healthd which monitors the temperature, fan speed and
voltage levels of certain motherboards. This vulnerability may allow local
users to obtain root privileges on affected systems.
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FreeBSD-SA-00:12 Security Advisory
Topic: healthd allows a local root compromise
Credits: Discovered during FreeBSD ports collection auditing.
Affects: Ports collection before the correction date.
Vendor status: Updated version released.
FreeBSD only: NO
healthd is a small utility for monitoring the temperature, fan speed
and voltage levels of certain motherboards.
II. Problem Description
healthd v0.3 installs a utility which is setuid root in order to
monitor the system status. This utility contains a trivial buffer
overflow which allows an unprivileged local user to obtain root
privileges on the system.
The healthd 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 3200 third-party applications in a ready-to-install
format. The ports collection shipped with FreeBSD 4.0 contains this
problem since it was discovered after the release.
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.
A local user can obtain root privileges by exploiting a vulnerability
in the healthd utility.
If you have not chosen to install the healthd port/package, then your
system is not vulnerable.
Remove the healthd port, if you you have installed it.
1) Upgrade your entire ports collection and rebuild the healthd port.
2) Reinstall a new package dated after the correction date, obtained from:
3) download a new port skeleton for the healthd 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:
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