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Subject: CERT Advisory CA-2003-02 Double-Free Bug in CVS Server
From: CERT Advisory <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 18:56:19 -0500


CERT Advisory CA-2003-02 Double-Free Bug in CVS Server

   Original issue date: January 22, 2003
   Last revised: --
   Source: CERT/CC

   A complete revision history is at the end of this file.

Systems Affected

     * Systems running CVS Home project versions of CVS prior to 1.11.5
     * Operating system distributions that provide CVS
     * Source code repositories managed by CVS
     * For detailed vendor status information, see VU#650937:



   A  "double-free" vulnerability in the Concurrent Versions System (CVS)
   server  could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker with read-only
   access  to  execute  arbitrary  code,  alter  program  operation, read
   sensitive information, or cause a denial of service.

I. Description

   CVS  is a version control and collaboration system that is widely used
   by   open-source   software  development  projects.  CVS  is  commonly
   configured  to  allow  public,  anonymous,  read-only  access  via the

   The  CVS  server component contains a "double-free" vulnerability that
   can  be  triggered  by  a set of specially crafted directory requests.
   While processing these requests, an error-checking routine may attempt
   to  free()  the same memory reference more than once. Deallocating the
   already freed memory leads to heap corruption, which an attacker could
   leverage to execute arbitrary code, alter the logical operation of the
   CVS server program, or read sensitive information stored in memory. In
   most  cases,  heap  corruption  will  result  in a segmentation fault,
   causing a denial of service.

   The  CVS  server process is typically started by the Internet services
   daemon  (inetd) and runs with root privileges. Arbitrary code inserted
   by an attacker would therefore run with root privileges.

   The CERT/CC is tracking this issue as VU#650937:


   This reference number corresponds to CVE candidate CAN-2002-0059:


   This issue was researched and reported by Stefan Esser of


II. Impact

   Depending   on   configuration,   operating   system,   and   platform
   architecture,  a remote attacker with anonymous, read-only access to a
   vulnerable   CVS  server  could  execute  arbitrary  code,  alter  the
   operation  of the server program, read sensitive information, or cause
   a  denial of service. There is also a significant secondary impact. An
   attacker  who  is  able  to  compromise  a  CVS  server  could  modify
   source-code repositories to contain Trojan horses, backdoors, or other
   malicious code.

III. Solution

Apply a patch or upgrade

   Apply  the  appropriate  patch or upgrade as specified by your vendor.
   See  Appendix  A.  below and the Systems Affected section of VU#650937
   for further information:


Disable or restrict anonymous CVS access

   As  a  temporary solution until patches or upgrades can be applied, or
   to  improve the security of CVS servers in the long term, consider the
   following workarounds and configurations:

     * Disable anonymous CVS server access completely.

     * Block  or  restrict access to CVS servers from untrusted hosts and
       networks.  Anonymous  access  to CVS servers using :cvspserver: is
       typically provided on port 2401/tcp.

     * Configure CVS servers to run in restricted (chroot) environments.

     * Host CVS servers on single-purpose, secured systems.

   These  workarounds  and  configurations are not complete solutions and
   will  not  prevent  exploitation of this vulnerability. Other features
   inherent  in  CVS  may  give anonymous users the ability to gain shell

Appendix A. Vendor Information

   This  appendix  contains information provided by vendors. When vendors
   report  new  information,  this section is updated and the changes are
   noted  in  the  revision  history. If a vendor is not listed below, we
   have  not  received  their  comments.  The Systems Affected section of
   VU#650937 contains additional vendor status information:



     Conectiva  Linux is affected by this issue and updated packages are
     available at <>:
     An official announcement is pending and will show up in our updates
     website at  <>

Cray Inc.

     Cray  Inc.  supports  CVS  through  their  Cray Open Software (COS)
     package.  COS  3.3  and  earlier  is  vulnerable. A new CVS will be
     available   shortly.   Please   contact  your  local  Cray  service
     representative if you need this new package.

CVS Home

     CVS  release  1.11.5  addresses  this  issue  for  CVS servers. CVS
     clients are not affected.


     Debian has updated their distribution with DSA 233.

     For  the stable distribution (woody) this problem has been fixed in
     version 1.11.1p1debian-8.1.

     For  the  old  stable  distribution  (potato) this problem has been
     fixed in version 1.10.7-9.2.

     For  the  unstable  distribution  (sid)  this problem will be fixed


     SOURCE:  Hewlett-Packard Company and Compaq Computer Corporation, a
     wholly-owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company
     RE: x-reference SSRT3463
     Not Vulnerable:
     HP Tru64 UNIX
     HP NonStop Servers
     HP OpenVMS
     To  report  any  security  issue  for any HP software products send
     email to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>


     The  AIX  operating  system does not ship with CVS. However, CVS is
     available for installation on AIX from the Linux Affinity Toolbox.

     CVS  versions  1.11.1p1-2  and earlier are vulnerable to the issues
     discussed  in  CERT Vulnerability Note VU#650937 and any advisories
     which follow.

     Users are advised to download CVS 1.11.1p1-3 from:

     Please note that the above address was wrapped to two lines.

     CVS  1.11.1p1-3  contains  the security fixes made in CVS 1.11.5 to
     address these issues.

     This software is offered on an "as-is" basis.

Openwall GNU/*/Linux

     We  don't  yet  re-distribute  CVS  in Openwall GNU/*/Linux. We do,
     however,  provide  public  anonymous  CVS  access  to a copy of our
     repository,  hosted  off  a  separate machine and in a chroot jail.
     This  kind  of vulnerabilities in CVS was expected, and our anoncvs
     setup  is  mostly  resistant  to  them:  read-only  access  to  the
     repository  is  achieved  primarily  with  the  use of regular Unix
     permissions,  not  controls  built  into CVS. CVS LockDir option is
     used  to  direct  CVS  lock  files  to  a  separate directory tree,
     actually  writable  to  the  pseudo-user. Nevertheless, the anoncvs
     server  has  been  upgraded  to CVS 1.11.5 a few hours after it was

Red Hat, Inc.

     Red  Hat Linux and Red Hat Linux Advanced Server shipped with a cvs
     package  vulnerable  to  these  issues.  New  cvs  packages are now
     available  along  with our advisory at the URLs below. Users of the
     Red Hat Network can update their systems using the 'up2date' tool.

     Red Hat Linux Advanced Server:


     Red Hat Linux:


Sun Microsystems Inc.

     Sun  does not include CVS with Solaris and therefore Solaris is not
     affected by this issue.

     Sun  Linux,  versions  5.0.3 and below, does ship with a vulnerable
     CVS  package.  Sun  recommends  that  CVS  services  be disabled on
     affected  Sun  Linux  systems  until patches are available for this

     Sun  will  be  publishing  a Sun Alert for Sun Linux describing the
     patch information which will be available from:


Appendix B. References

     * CERT/CC Vulnerability Note VU#650937 -
     * e-matters Advisory 01/2003 -


   This vulnerability was reported by Stefan Esser of e-matters.

   Author: Art Manion.

   This document is available from:

CERT/CC Contact Information

   Email: <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
          Phone: +1 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline)
          Fax: +1 412-268-6989
          Postal address:
          CERT Coordination Center
          Software Engineering Institute
          Carnegie Mellon University
          Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890

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   Revision History

   January 22, 2003: Initial release

Version: PGP 6.5.8


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