AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution

                  ESB-2003.0144 -- IBM SECURITY ADVISORY
                  sendmail buffer overflow vulnerability
                               04 March 2003


        AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary

Product:                Sendmail
Vendor:                 IBM
Operating System:       AIX 5.2
                        AIX 5.1
                        AIX 4.3
Impact:                 Root Compromise
Access Required:        Remote

Ref:                    AA-2003.01

- --------------------------BEGIN INCLUDED TEXT--------------------

Hash: SHA1


First Issued: Fri Feb 21 11:00:00 CST 2003

                           VULNERABILITY SUMMARY

VULNERABILITY:      sendmail buffer overflow vulnerability.

PLATFORMS:          AIX 4.3, 5.1 and 5.2

SOLUTION:           Apply the workaround, efix or APARs as described below.

THREAT:             A remote attacker can exploit a buffer overflow to
                    gain root privileges.

CERT VU Number:     398025
CVE Number:         n/a
                           DETAILED INFORMATION

I.  Description

Sendmail is a MTA (mail transfer agent) that routes mail for local or
network delivery. When sendmail receives a message it translates the
format of message headers to match the requirements of the destination
system. The program determines the destination via the syntax and content
of the address field in a message header. A vulnerability that exploits
how message headers are parsed has been found. This vulnerability allows
a remote attacker to gain root privileges. At this time, there is no known
exploit in the wild for this vulnerability.

The sendmail daemon runs on all versions of AIX by default. To determine
if sendmail is running on your system execute the following:

#lssrc -s sendmail

If sendmail is running, the following will be displayed:

Subsystem         Group            PID     Status
 sendmail         mail             xxxx    active

Where xxxx is the pid of the sendmail process on your system.

If sendmail is not installed, the system is not vulnerable.

II. Impact

A remote attacker can gain root privileges.

III.  Solutions

A. Official Fix
IBM provides the following fixes:

      APAR number for AIX 4.3.3: IY40500 (available approx. 03/12/2003)
      APAR number for AIX 5.1.0: IY40501 (available approx. 04/28/2003)
      APAR number for AIX 5.2.0: IY40502 (available approx. 04/28/2003)

NOTE: Fixes will not be provided for versions prior to 4.3 as
these are no longer supported by IBM. Affected customers are
urged to upgrade to 4.3.3 or 5.1.0 at the latest maintenance level.

B. E-fix
Temporary fixes for AIX 4.3.3, 5.1.0, and 5.2.0 systems are available.

The temporary fixes can be downloaded via ftp from:


The efix compressed tarball contains three fixes: one each for
AIX 4.3.3, AIX 5.1.0 and AIX 5.2.0. It also includes this Advisory
and a README file with installation instructions.

Verify you have retrieved this efix intact:
- - - ---------------------------------------------
There are 3 fix-files in this package for the 4.3.3, 5.1.0, 5.2.0
releases. The checksums below were generated using the "sum" and
"md5" commands and are as follows:

Filename       sum            md5
sendmail.433   61331   428    013f747e5a447e2dec777e2e840914a9
sendmail.510   34257  1059    5f282fd2a472c2d75c88c3c652312842
sendmail.520   45494  1007    88bcb028aab4625abe0257d3537a0813

These sums should match exactly; if they do not, double check the
command results and the download site address. If those are OK,
contact IBM AIX Security at security-alert@austin.ibm.com and describe
the discrepancy.

IMPORTANT: Create a mksysb backup of the system and verify it is
both bootable, and readable before proceeding.

These temporary fixes have not been fully regression tested; thus,
IBM does not warrant the fully correct functioning of the efix.
Customers install the efix and operate the modified version of AIX
at their own risk.

Efix Installation Instructions:
- - - ---------------------------------
Detailed installation instructions can be found in the README file
supplied in the efix package. These instructions are summarized below.

You need to have the following filesets installed. This ensures that
the proper versions of co-requisite system files, such as libc.a, are

For AIX 4.3.3:

For AIX 5.1.0:

For AIX 5.2.0:

You can determine which fileset is installed by executing
the following:

   # lslpp -L bos.net.tcp.client

1. Create a temporary efix directory and move to that directory.
   # mkdir /tmp/efix
   # cd /tmp/efix

2. Move the efix to /tmp/efix, uncompress it and un-tar the resulting
   tarfile. Move to the fix directory.
   # cp PATH_TO_ADVISORY /tmp/efix # where PATH_TO_ADVISORY is the fully
                                   # qualified path to the efix package.
   # uncompress sendmail_efix.tar.Z
   # tar xvf sendmail_efix.tar
   # cd sendmail_efix

3. Rename the patched binary files appropriate for your system and set
   ownership and permissions.
   # mv sendmail.xxx sendmail      # where xxx is 433, 510 or 520
   # chown root.system sendmail
   # chmod 6551 sendmail

4. Create a backup copy of original binary. Remove all
   permissions from the backup copy.
   # cd /usr/sbin
   # cp sendmail sendmail.orig
   # chmod 0 sendmail.orig

5. Stop sendmail.
   # stopsrc -s sendmail

6. Replace the current system binary with the patched
   binary. Use the -p option to preserve the file
   permissions set in step 3.
   # cp -p /tmp/efix/sendmail_efix/sendmail /usr/sbin/sendmail

7. Restart sendmail.
   # startsrc -s sendmail -a "-bd -q15"

   The -bd flag starts sendmail as a daemon running in the
   background as a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) mail router.

   The -q15 flag tells the sendmail daemon to process the queue every
   15 minutes.

   It may be desirable to initialize sendmail differently on the
   system being patched. Modify the flags accordingly.

C. Workaround
Turn sendmail off. You can do this by executing the following:
   # stopsrc -s sendmail

Note that legitimate requests to sendmail will fail. If this is not feasible
in your environment, please apply the efix as described in Section III B.

IV. Obtaining Fixes

IBM AIX APARs may be ordered using Electronic Fix Distribution (via the
FixDist program), or from the IBM Support Center.  For more information
on FixDist, and to obtain fixes via the Internet, please reference


or send email to "aixserv@austin.ibm.com" with the word "FixDist" in the
"Subject:" line.

AIX APARs may also be downloaded from the web from the following URLs.

For 4.3.3 APARs:

For 5.1.0 APARs:

For 5.2.0 APARs:

To facilitate ease of ordering all security related APARs for each AIX
release, security fixes are periodically bundled into a cumulative APAR.
For more information on these cumulative APARs including last update and
list of individual fixes, send email to "aixserv@austin.ibm.com" with
the word "subscribe Security_APARs" in the "Subject:" line.

V. Acknowledgments

The AIX Security Team would like to thank Sendmail, Inc. for bringing this
issue to our attention.

This document was written by Shiva Persaud.

VI.  Contact Information

Comments regarding the content of this announcement can be directed to:


To request the PGP public key that can be used to encrypt new AIX
security vulnerabilities, send email to security-alert@austin.ibm.com
with a subject of "get key".

If you would like to subscribe to the AIX security newsletter, send a
note to aixserv@austin.ibm.com with a subject of "subscribe Security".
To cancel your subscription, use a subject of "unsubscribe Security".
To see a list of other available subscriptions, use a subject of

Please contact your local IBM AIX support center for any assistance.

IBM and AIX are a registered trademark of International Business
Machines Corporation.  All other trademarks are property of their
respective holders.
Version: GnuPG v1.2.0 (AIX)


- --------------------------END INCLUDED TEXT--------------------

You have received this e-mail bulletin as a result of your organisation's
registration with AusCERT. The mailing list you are subscribed to is
maintained within your organisation, so if you do not wish to continue
receiving these bulletins you should contact your local IT manager. If
you do not know who that is, please send an email to auscert@auscert.org.au
and we will forward your request to the appropriate person.

This security bulletin is provided as a service to AusCERT's members.  As
AusCERT did not write the document quoted above, AusCERT has had no control
over its content.  The decision to use any or all of this information is
the responsibility of each user or organisation, and should be done so in
accordance with site policies and procedures.

NOTE: This is only the original release of the security bulletin.  It may
not be updated when updates to the original are made.  If downloading at
a later date, it is recommended that the bulletin is retrieved directly
from the author's website to ensure that the information is still current.

Contact information for the authors of the original document is included
in the Security Bulletin above.  If you have any questions or need further
information, please contact them directly.

Previous advisories and external security bulletins can be retrieved from:


If you believe that your system has been compromised, contact AusCERT or
your representative in FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security

Internet Email: auscert@auscert.org.au
Facsimile:      (07) 3365 7031
Telephone:      (07) 3365 4417 (International: +61 7 3365 4417)
                AusCERT personnel answer during Queensland business 
                hours which are GMT+10:00 (AEST).  On call after hours 
                for member emergencies only.

Version: 2.6.3i
Charset: noconv
Comment: http://www.auscert.org.au/render.html?it=1967