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Posted May 9, 2003
Authored by Strategic Reconnaissance Team | Site

Secure Network Operations, Inc. Advisory SRT2003-05-08-1137: A problem appears to be created by a series of strcat(), sprintf(), and strcpy() functions in ListProc <= 8.2.09 enabling an attacker to gain root privileges through a buffer overflow.

tags | advisory, overflow, root
MD5 | 06a6e9f0c077a98cf5148ea15cddc1ec


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Secure Network Operations, Inc. 
Strategic Reconnaissance Team
Team Lead Contact

Our Mission:
Secure Network Operations offers expertise in Networking, Intrusion
Detection Systems (IDS), Software Security Validation, and
Corporate/Private Network Security. Our mission is to facilitate a
secure and reliable Internet and inter-enterprise communications
infrastructure through the products and services we offer.

Quick Summary:
Advisory Number : SRT2003-05-08-1137
Product : ListProc
Version : <= 8.2.09
Vendor : +
Class : local
Criticality : Medium to Low
Operating System(s) : Solaris 2.x, Linux, BSDI, FreeBSD, AIX

High Level Explanation
High Level Description : suid root catmail ULISTPROC_UMASK overflow
What to do : chmod -s /path/to/catmail

Technical Details
Proof Of Concept Status : Secure Network Operations does have PoC code
Low Level Description :

In the middle of July last year The Corporation for Research and
Educational Networking (CREN) was notified of a local buffer overflow in
the program known as catmail. Catmail is a helper application for the
mailing list server ListProc. ListProc is "the UNIX Mailing List Manager
of choice" for a number of companies.

On January 7, 2003 CREN has effectively ceased all operations including
work with ListProc with the following statement: "We recommend that the
Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN) be dissolved
effective as soon as appropriate. The effective date of dissolution will
likely be in the first quarter of 2003. CREN Operations will cease
effective as soon as appropriate."

Prior to the company stopping operations SecNetOps was in contact with
their development staff long enough to see that a fix was created for
the above mentioned issue. Unfortunately at the time their staff was
not on hand to thoroughly test the fix. SecNetOps did not have the
facilities to compile the new version of catmail in efforts to test the
fix on our own. The problem appeared to be caused by a series of strcat()
sprintf() strcpy() and other easily abused function calls however we
can not confirm that as fact.

Currently ListProc has been moved to SourceForge however the status of
this problem is not known. SecNetOps has not been in contact with CREN
for a number of months. The current release on SourceForge has not been
updated since March of 2002 so the fix is probably not available to the
public. is the current home
of ListProc.

Zillion from was able to successfully exploit this problem
in a SecNetOps lab setting. A functional exploit *may* be found at

gentoo listproc $ head -n 12
# Quick hack for the ListProc catmail overflow found by KF (
# Written by zillion ( on July 23, 2002
# Tested on version 8.2.09
# [zillion@ghetto lp8]$ ./ -f ./catmail
# The new return address: 0xbfffae1c
# sh-2.05# id
# uid=0(root) gid=1214(snosoft) groups=1214(snosoft),520(zillion)

The buffer overflow in ULISTPROC_UMASK may not be the only issues present.
We would suggest evaluating a *supported* mailing list solution.

Patch or Workaround : chmod -s /path/to/catmail
Vendor Status : Status unknown. Fix was created but not distributed.
Bugtraq URL : to be assigned

This advisory was released by Secure Network Operations,Inc. as a matter
of notification to help administrators protect their networks against
the described vulnerability. Exploit source code is no longer released
in our advisories. Contact for information on how
to obtain exploit information.


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