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Home » Hacking News » SuSE Security Announcement: mod_php4 (SuSE-SA:2003:0009)

SuSE Security Announcement: mod_php4 (SuSE-SA:2003:0009)

by Nikola Strahija on February 18th, 2003 Under some special circumstances a buffer overflow can be triggered in mod_php4's wordwrap() function. This buffer overflow can be used to overwrite heap memory and possibly can lead to remote system compromise.

Package: mod_php4
Announcement-ID: SuSE-SA:2003:0009
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 18th 2003 18:22 MET
Affected products: 8.1
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8
Vulnerability Type: remote system compromise
Severity (1-10): 2
SuSE default package: no
Cross References: CAN-2002-1396

Content of this advisory:
1) security vulnerability resolved: buffer overflow
problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information
2) pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds:
- libmcrypt
3) standard appendix (further information)


1) problem description, brief discussion, solution, upgrade information

The Apache module mod_php4 supports the widely used Web scripting
language PHP.
Under some special circumstances a buffer overflow can be triggered
in mod_php4's wordwrap() function. This buffer overflow can be used
to overwrite heap memory and possibly can lead to remote system
Just mod_php4 versions greater than 4.1.2 and less than 4.3.0
are vulnerable. This affects SuSE Linux 8.1 and all SuSE Linux
Enterprise Server 8 based products.

There is no temporary fix known. Please install the new packages from
our FTP servers.

After updating the mod_php4 module has to be reloaded by Apache.
This can be done by restarting the apache webserver using the following
command as root:
rcapache restart

Please download the update package for your distribution and verify its
integrity by the methods listed in section 3) of this announcement.
Then, install the package using the command "rpm -Fhv file.rpm" to apply
the update.
Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages
are being offered to install from the maintenance web.

Intel i386 Platform:

patch rpm(s):
patch rpm(s):
patch rpm(s):
patch rpm(s):
patch rpm(s):

source rpm(s):


2) Pending vulnerabilities in SuSE Distributions and Workarounds:

- libmcrypt
Several buffer overflows in libmcrypt were discovered by Ilia
Alshanetsky. The buffer overflows can lead to system compromise.
New packages are currently being build.


3) standard appendix: authenticity verification, additional information

- Package authenticity verification:

SuSE update packages are available on many mirror ftp servers all over
the world. While this service is being considered valuable and important
to the free and open source software community, many users wish to be
sure about the origin of the package and its content before installing
the package. There are two verification methods that can be used
independently from each other to prove the authenticity of a downloaded
file or rpm package:
1) md5sums as provided in the (cryptographically signed) announcement.
2) using the internal gpg signatures of the rpm package.

1) execute the command
after you downloaded the file from a SuSE ftp server or its mirrors.
Then, compare the resulting md5sum with the one that is listed in the
announcement. Since the announcement containing the checksums is
cryptographically signed (usually using the key [email protected]),
the checksums show proof of the authenticity of the package.
We disrecommend to subscribe to security lists which cause the
email message containing the announcement to be modified so that
the signature does not match after transport through the mailing
list software.
Downsides: You must be able to verify the authenticity of the
announcement in the first place. If RPM packages are being rebuilt
and a new version of a package is published on the ftp server, all
md5 sums for the files are useless.

2) rpm package signatures provide an easy way to verify the authenticity
of an rpm package. Use the command
rpm -v --checksig
to verify the signature of the package, where is the
filename of the rpm package that you have downloaded. Of course,
package authenticity verification can only target an un-installed rpm
package file.
a) gpg is installed
b) The package is signed using a certain key. The public part of this
key must be installed by the gpg program in the directory
~/.gnupg/ under the user's home directory who performs the
signature verification (usually root). You can import the key
that is used by SuSE in rpm packages for SuSE Linux by saving
this announcement to a file ("announcement.txt") and
running the command (do "su -" to be root):
gpg --batch; gpg < announcement.txt | gpg --import
SuSE Linux distributions version 7.1 and thereafter install the
key "[email protected]" upon installation or upgrade, provided that
the package gpg is installed. The file containing the public key
is placed at the top-level directory of the first CD (pubring.gpg)
and at .

- SuSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may

[email protected]
- general/linux/SuSE security discussion.
All SuSE security announcements are sent to this list.
To subscribe, send an email to

[email protected]
- SuSE's announce-only mailing list.
Only SuSE's security announcements are sent to this list.
To subscribe, send an email to

For general information or the frequently asked questions (faq)
send mail to:

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