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AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution
ESB-2000.233 -- FreeBSD-SA-00:39
Two vulnerabilities in Netscape
30 August 2000
AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary
Product: Netscape Navigator
Vendor: FreeBSD Ports Collection
Operating System: FreeBSD
Impact: Execute Arbitrary Code/Commands
Access Privileged Data
Access Required: Remote
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FreeBSD-SA-00:39 Security Advisory
Topic: Two vulnerabilities in Netscape
Credits: Solar Designer <solar@FALSE.COM> (Vulnerability #1)
Dan Brumleve <dan+Bsecurity@brumleve.com> (Vulnerability #2)
Affects: Ports collection prior to the correction date.
Vendor status: Updated version released
FreeBSD only: NO
Netscape is a popular web browser, available in several versions in
the FreeBSD ports collection.
II. Problem Description
There are two security problems in recent versions of netscape:
1) Versions prior to 4.74
A client-side exploit may be possible through a buffer overflow in
JPEG-handling code. Although an exploit is not known, attackers may be
able to execute arbitrary code on the local machine as the user
running netscape, or at the very least cause the netscape binary to
2) Versions prior to 4.75
The Java Virtual Machine implementation has security vulnerabilities
allowing a remote user to read the contents of local files accessible
to the user running netscape, and to allow these files to be
transmitted to any user on the internet.
The netscape ports are not installed by default, nor are they "part of
FreeBSD" as such: they are part of the FreeBSD ports collection, which
contains over 3700 third-party applications in a ready-to-install
format. The ports collections shipped with FreeBSD 3.5 and 4.1 are
vulnerable to these problems.
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.
Remote users can read files on the local system accessible to the user
running netscape, if java is enabled, and may be able to execute
arbitrary code on the local system as that user.
If you have not chosen to install a netscape port/package, then your
system is not vulnerable to this problem.
Deinstall the netscape port/package, if you you have installed it.
Vulnerability 2) can be worked around by disabling Java in the
"Advanced" section of the Preferences control panel. Vulnerability 1)
can be worked around by disabling the "Automatically load images"
option in the same location, although this is not a very practical
One of the following:
1) Upgrade your entire ports collection and rebuild the relevant
2) Deinstall the old package and install a new package dated after the
correction date, obtained from the following directories:
Since there are so many variations of the netscape ports in the
FreeBSD ports collection they are not listed separately
here. Localized versions are also available in the respective language
3) download a new port skeleton for the netscape 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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