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CERT* Vendor-Initiated Bulletin VB-97.04
July 9, 1997

Topic:  Security Vulnerability in chfn executable
Source: Hewlett-Packard Company

To aid in the wide distribution of essential security information, the CERT
Coordination Center is forwarding the following information from
Hewlett-Packard Company. Hewlett-Packard contact information is included in
the forwarded text below; please contact them if you have any questions or
need further information.

Note: Hewlett-Packard reminds customers to use the HP Supportline
      to check the patch matrix for current patch IDs. Because patches are
      cumulative, IDs change daily. The patch matrix is updated
      automatically every 24 hours.

=======================FORWARDED TEXT STARTS HERE============================

Document Id: [HPSBUX9701-049]
Date Loaded: [01-09-97]

Description: Security Vulnerability in chfn executable

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       HEWLETT-PACKARD SECURITY BULLETIN: #00049, 09 January 1997
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------

The information in the following Security Bulletin should be acted upon
as soon as possible.  Hewlett Packard will not be liable for any
consequences to any customer resulting from customer's failure to fully
implement instructions in this Security Bulletin as soon as possible.

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
PROBLEM:  Security vulnerability in the chfn executable

PLATFORM: HP 9000 Series 700/800s running versions of HP-UX 9.X & 10.X

DAMAGE:   Vulnerabilities exists allowing local users to gain root

SOLUTION: Apply patch:
          PHCO_9595 for all platforms with HP-UX releases 9.X
          PHCO_9596 for all platforms with HP-UX releases 10.00/10.01/10.10
          PHCO_9597 for all platforms with HP-UX releases 10.20

AVAILABILITY:  All patches are available now.

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
   A. Background
      A vulnerability with the chfn command (/usr/bin/chfn) has been

   B. Fixing the problem
      The vulnerability can be eliminated from HP-UX releases 9.X and
      10.X by applying the appropriate patch.

   C. Recommended solution
      1.  Determine which patch are appropriate for your operating

      2.  Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX patches are available via email
          and the World Wide Web

          To obtain a copy of the Hewlett-Packard SupportLine email
          service user's guide, send the following in the TEXT PORTION
          OF THE MESSAGE to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (no Subject
          is required):

                               send guide

          The users guide explains the HP-UX patch downloading process
          via email and other services available.

          World Wide Web service for downloading of patches
          is available via our URL:
      3.  Apply the patch to your HP-UX system.

      4.  Examine /tmp/update.log (9.X), or /var/adm/sw/swinstall.log
          (10.X), for any relevant WARNING's or ERROR's.

   D. Impact of the patch
      The patches for HP-UX releases 9.X and 10.X provide enhancements
      to the chfn executable to avoid this vulnerability.

   E. To subscribe to automatically receive future NEW HP Security
      Bulletins from the HP SupportLine Digest service via electronic
      mail, do the following:

      1)  From your Web browser, access the URL: (US,Canada,
      Asia-Pacific, and Latin-America)  (Europe)

      2)  On the HP Electronic Support Center main screen, select
      the hyperlink "Support Information Digests".

      3)  On the "Welcome to HP's Support Information Digests" screen,
      under the heading "Register Now", select the appropriate hyperlink
      "Americas and Asia-Pacific", or "Europe".

      4)  On the "New User Registration" screen, fill in the fields for
      the User Information and Password and then select the button labeled
      "Submit New User".

      5)  On the "User ID Assigned" screen, select the hyperlink
      "Support Information Digests".

      ** Note what your assigned user ID and password are for future

      6)  You should now be on the "HP Support Information Digests Main"
      screen.  You might want to verify that your email address is correct
      as displayed on the screen.  From this screen, you may also
      view/subscribe to the digests, including the security bulletins

      To get a patch matrix of current HP-UX and BLS security
       patches referenced by either Security Bulletin or Platform/OS,
       click on following screens in order:
         Technical Knowledge Database
         Browse Security Bulletins
         Security Bulletins Archive
         HP-UX Security Patch Matrix

   F. To report new security vulnerabilities, send email to

          This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Please encrypt any exploit information using the security-alert
      PGP key, available from your local key server, or by sending a
      message with a -subject- (not body) of 'get key' (no quotes) to
      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

   Permission is granted for copying and circulating this Bulletin to
   Hewlett-Packard (HP) customers (or the Internet community) for the
   purpose of alerting them to problems, if and only if, the Bulletin is
   not edited or changed in any way, is attributed to HP, and provided
   such reproduction and/or distribution is performed for non-commercial

   Any other use of this information is prohibited.  HP is not liable
   for any misuse of this information by any third party.

========================FORWARDED TEXT ENDS HERE=============================

If you believe that your system has been compromised, contact the CERT
Coordination Center or your representative in the Forum of Incident Response
and Security Teams (FIRST). See

We strongly urge you to encrypt any sensitive information you send by email.
The CERT Coordination Center can support a shared DES key and PGP. Contact
the CERT staff for more information.

Location of CERT PGP key

CERT 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)
                CERT personnel answer 8:30-5:00 p.m. EST
                (GMT-5)/EDT(GMT-4), and are on call for
                emergencies during other hours.

Fax      +1 412-268-6989

Postal address
        CERT Coordination Center
        Software Engineering Institute
        Carnegie Mellon University
        Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890

CERT publications, information about FIRST representatives, and other
security-related information are available from

CERT advisories and bulletins are also posted on the USENET newsgroup

To be added to our mailing list for CERT advisories and bulletins, send your
email address to
        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In the subject line, type
        SUBSCRIBE  your-email-address

* Registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The CERT Coordination Center is part of the Software Engineering
Institute (SEI). The SEI is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Defense.

This file:

Version: 2.6.2


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