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Home » Hacking News » CLA-2002:537-Conectiva Linux Security Announcement - tetex

CLA-2002:537-Conectiva Linux Security Announcement - tetex

by Nikola Strahija on November 7th, 2002 tetex contains the TeX typesetting system. Among other features, it includes support to generate documents using LaTeX, which is widely used for the production of technical and scientific documentation. It also contains a set of utilities to work with and convert various file formats, such as DVI, PDF, PS and others.

Olaf Kirch from SuSE discovered a vulnerability in the dvips utility,
which is used to convert .dvi files to PostScript. dvips is calling
the system() function in an insecure way when handling font names. An
attacker can exploit this by creating a carefully crafted dvi file
which, when opened by dvips, will cause the execution of arbitrary

Since dvips is used as a default filter by the printing system
(LPRng) of Conectiva Linux 6.0 and 7.0, an attacker with permissions
to send printer jobs could execute arbitrary commands with the
privileges of the 'lp' user (which is the system user responsible for
the printing system) by sending a dvi file to be printed.

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures project ( has
assigned the name CAN-2002-0836 to this issue[1].

Some preventive fixes related to the use of temporary files were
added to the tetex packages of Conectiva Linux 6.0 and 7.0. The
packages distributed with Conectiva Linux 8 already have such fixes.

All tetex users should upgrade. The dvips utility is in the
"tetex-dvips" package.



Users of Conectiva Linux version 6.0 or higher may use apt to perform
upgrades of RPM packages:
- add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list if it is not there yet
(you may also use linuxconf to do this):

rpm [cncbr] 6.0/conectiva updates

(replace 6.0 with the correct version number if you are not running CL6.0)

- run: apt-get update
- after that, execute: apt-get upgrade

Detailed instructions reagarding the use of apt and upgrade examples
can be found at

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All packages are signed with Conectiva's GPG key. The key and instructions
on how to import it can be found at
Instructions on how to check the signatures of the RPM packages can be
found at
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All our advisories and generic update instructions can be viewed at

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