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Home » Security Advisories» FreeBSD » Mutt ports remotely exploitable buffer overflow

Mutt ports remotely exploitable buffer overflow

The mutt ports, versions prior to mutt-1.2.5_1 and mutt-devel-1.3.24_2, contain a buffer overflow in the handling of email addresses in headers.

  • Vendor: FreeBSD
  • Vendor ID: SA-02:04
  • Date: January 04, 2002


FreeBSD-SA-02:04 Security Advisory
FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic: mutt ports contain remotely exploitable buffer overflow

Category: ports
Module: mutt
Announced: 2002-01-04
Revised: 2002-01-06
Credits: Joost Pol
Affects: Ports collection prior to the correction date
Corrected: 2002-01-02 13:52:03 UTC (ports/mail/mutt: 1.2.x)
2002-01-02 03:39:01 UTC (ports/mail/mutt-devel: 1.3.x)
FreeBSD only: NO

0. Revision History

v1.0 2002-01-04 Initial release
v1.1 2002-01-06 Corrected typo in mutt port version.

I. Background

Mutt is a small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix
operating systems.

II. Problem Description

The mutt ports, versions prior to mutt-1.2.5_1 and
mutt-devel-1.3.24_2, contain a buffer overflow in the handling of
email addresses in headers.

The mutt and mutt-devel ports are not installed by default, nor are
they "part of FreeBSD" as such: they are parts of the FreeBSD ports
collection, which contains over 6000 third-party applications in a
ready-to-install format. The ports collection shipped with FreeBSD 4.4
contains this problem since it was discovered after the release.

FreeBSD makes no claim about the security of these third-party
applications, although an effort is underway to provide a security
audit of the most security-critical ports.

III. Impact

An attacker may send an email message with a specially crafted email
address in any of several message headers to the victim. When the
victim reads the message using mutt and encounters that email address,
the buffer overflow is triggered and may result in arbitrary code
being executed with the privileges of the victim.

IV. Workaround

1) Deinstall the mutt and mutt-devel ports/packages if you have them

V. Solution

1) Upgrade your entire ports collection and rebuild the ports.

2) Deinstall the old packages and install news package dated after the
correction date, obtained from the following directories:


Packages are not automatically generated for the alpha architecture at
this time due to lack of build resources.

NOTE: It may be several days before updated packages are available.

3) Download a new port skeleton for the mutt or mutt-devel port from:

and use it to rebuild the port.

4) Use the portcheckout utility to automate option (3) above. The
portcheckout port is available in /usr/ports/devel/portcheckout or the
package can be obtained from:

VI. Correction details

The following list contains the $FreeBSD$ revision numbers of each
file that was corrected in the FreeBSD source

Path Revision
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
ports/mail/mutt/Makefile 1.110
ports/mail/mutt/files/patch-rfc822.c 1.1
ports/mail/mutt-devel/Makefile 1.141
ports/mail/mutt-devel/files/patch-rfc822-security 1.1
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------

VII. References

Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (FreeBSD)
Comment: For info see


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