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SuSE: mailman remote file disclosure Print E-mail
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Posted by Benjamin D. Thomas   
SuSE Due to incomplete input validation the "private" CGI script which handles archive retrieval could be used to read any file on the system, including the configuration database of the mailman lists which include passwords in plain text. A remote attacker just needs a valid account on one mailing list managed by this mailman instance.

                        SUSE Security Announcement

        Package:                mailman
        Announcement-ID:        SUSE-SA:2005:007
        Date:                   Monday, Feb 14th 2005 10:30 MET
        Affected products:      8.2, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2
                                SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, 9
        Vulnerability Type:     remote file disclosure
        Severity (1-10):        5
        SUSE default package:   yes
        Cross References:       CAN-2005-0202

    Content of this advisory:
        1) security vulnerability resolved:
             - remote file disclosure by directory traversal
             - cross site scripting
             - requires additional package python-xml
        2) solution/workaround
        3) special instructions and notes
        4) package location and checksums
        5) pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds:
        6) standard appendix (further information)


1) problem description, brief discussion

    Mailman is a flexible mailing list management tool. It provides
    mail controlled subscription front ends and also includes CGI scripts
    to handle subscription, moderation and archive retrieval and other

    Due to incomplete input validation the "private" CGI script which
    handles archive retrieval could be used to read any file on the
    system, including the configuration database of the mailman lists
    which include passwords in plain text. A remote attacker just needs
    a valid account on one mailing list managed by this mailman instance.

    This update fixes this problem and is tracked under the Mitre CVE
    ID CAN-2005-0202.

    Please see section (3), "special instructions and notes".

    Our previous mailman update (only announced in the SUSE Summary Report)
    additionally fixed the following two security problems:
        - a cross site scripting problem (CAN-2004-1177)
        - too weak auto generated passwords (CAN-2004-1143)

    This previous security fix requires the additional "python-xml" RPM
    which was not required before.

2) solution/workaround

   Temporary workarounds:

   - Disable execution of the CGI scripts of mailman by either moving
     the scripts away, or disabling it in the web servers configuration.

   - Edit the true_path function in the Mailman/Cgi/ script to

     SLASH = '/'

     def true_path(path):
         "Ensure that the path is safe by removing .."
         parts = [x for x in path.split(SLASH) if x not in ('.', '..')]
         return SLASH.join(parts)[1:]

3) special instructions and notes

    After installing the upgraded packages, please make sure that
    your mailing list config databases have not been retrieved by

    You can do so by checking for patterns like ".....///" in your
    web servers access logs.

    If this is the case:
         - Reset all user passwords.

           The last security update includes a new "change_member_pw"
           script which can do that easily.

         - Change the mailing list admin password.

         - Optionally: Look for members which should not be in the list

4) package location and checksums

    Download the update package for your distribution and verify its
    integrity by the methods listed in section 3) of this announcement.
    Then, install the package using the command "rpm -Fhv file.rpm" to apply
    the update.
    Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages
    are being offered for installation from the maintenance web.

    x86 Platform:

    SUSE Linux 9.2:
    patch rpm(s):
    source rpm(s):

    SUSE Linux 9.1:
    patch rpm(s):
    source rpm(s):

    SUSE Linux 9.0:
    patch rpm(s):
    source rpm(s):

    SUSE Linux 8.2:
    patch rpm(s):
    source rpm(s):

    x86-64 Platform:

    SUSE Linux 9.2:
    patch rpm(s):
    source rpm(s):

    SUSE Linux 9.1:
    patch rpm(s):
    source rpm(s):

    SUSE Linux 9.0:
    patch rpm(s):
    source rpm(s):


5)  Pending vulnerabilities in SUSE Distributions and Workarounds:

    See the SUSE Security Summary report.


6)  standard appendix: authenticity verification, additional information

  - Package authenticity verification:

    SUSE update packages are available on many mirror ftp servers all over
    the world. While this service is being considered valuable and important
    to the free and open source software community, many users wish to be
    sure about the origin of the package and its content before installing
    the package. There are two verification methods that can be used
    independently from each other to prove the authenticity of a downloaded
    file or rpm package:
    1) md5sums as provided in the (cryptographically signed) announcement.
    2) using the internal gpg signatures of the rpm package.

    1) execute the command
       after you downloaded the file from a SUSE ftp server or its mirrors.
       Then, compare the resulting md5sum with the one that is listed in the
       announcement. Since the announcement containing the checksums is
       cryptographically signed (usually using the key,
       the checksums show proof of the authenticity of the package.
       We recommend against subscribing to security lists that cause the
       e-mail message containing the announcement to be modified
       so that the signature does not match after transport through the mailing
       list software.
       Downsides: You must be able to verify the authenticity of the
       announcement in the first place. If RPM packages are being rebuilt
       and a new version of a package is published on the ftp server, all
       md5 sums for the files are useless.

    2) rpm package signatures provide an easy way to verify the authenticity
       of an rpm package. Use the command
        rpm -v --checksig 
       to verify the signature of the package, where  is the
       file name of the rpm package that you have downloaded. Of course,
       package authenticity verification can only target an uninstalled rpm
       package file.
        a) gpg is installed
        b) The package is signed using a certain key. The public part of this
           key must be installed by the gpg program in the directory
           ~/.gnupg/ under the user's home directory who performs the
           signature verification (usually root). You can import the key
           that is used by SUSE in rpm packages for SUSE Linux by saving
           this announcement to a file ("announcement.txt") and
           running the command (do "su -" to be root):
            gpg --batch; gpg < announcement.txt | gpg --import
           SUSE Linux distributions version 7.1 and thereafter install the
           key "" upon installation or upgrade, provided that
           the package gpg is installed. The file containing the public key
           is placed at the top-level directory of the first CD (pubring.gpg)
           and at .

  - SUSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may
        -   general/linux/SUSE security discussion.
            All SUSE security announcements are sent to this list.
            To subscribe, send an email to
        -   SUSE's announce-only mailing list.
            Only SUSE's security announcements are sent to this list.
            To subscribe, send an email to

    For general information or the frequently asked questions (FAQ)
    send mail to:

    SUSE's security contact is  or .
    The  public key is listed below.

    The information in this advisory may be distributed or reproduced,
    provided that the advisory is not modified in any way. In particular,
    it is desired that the clear-text signature shows proof of the
    authenticity of the text.
    SUSE Linux AG makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever with respect
    to the information contained in this security advisory.
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