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Home » Hacking News » CERT Advisory CA-2002-35 Vulnerability in RaQ 4 Servers

CERT Advisory CA-2002-35 Vulnerability in RaQ 4 Servers

by Nikola Strahija on December 12th, 2002 Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code with superuser privileges.

Original release date: December 11, 2002
Last revised: --
Source: CERT/CC

A complete revision history can be found at the end of this file.

Systems Affected

* Sun Cobalt RaQ 4 Server Appliances with the Security Hardening
Package installed


A remotely exploitable vulnerability has been discovered in Sun Cobalt
RaQ 4 Server Appliances running Sun's Security Hardening Package
(SHP). Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow remote attackers
to execute arbitrary code with superuser privileges.

I. Description

Cobalt RaQ 4 is a Sun Server Appliance. For background information on
Cobalt RaQ 4, please see the COBALT RaQ 4 User Manual. Sun provides a
Security Hardening Package (SHP) for Cobalt RaQ 4. Although the SHP is
not installed by default, many users choose to install it on their RaQ
4 servers. For background information on the SHP, please see the SHP
RaQ 4 User Guide.

A vulnerability in the SHP may allow a remote attacker to execute
arbitrary code on a Cobalt RaQ 4 Server Appliance. The vulnerability
occurs in a cgi script that does not properly filter input.
Specifically, overflow.cgi does not adequately filter input destined
for the email variable. Because of this flaw, an attacker can use a
POST request to fill the email variable with arbitrary commands. The
attacker can then call overflow.cgi, which will allow the command the
attacker filled the email variable with to be executed with superuser

An exploit is publicly available and may be circulating.

Further information about this vulnerability may be found in VU#810921
in the CERT/CC Vulnerability Notes Database.

II. Impact

A remote attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code on a Cobalt
RaQ 4 Server Appliance with the SHP installed.

III. Solution

Apply a patch from your vendor

Appendix A contains information provided by vendors for this advisory.
As vendors report new information to the CERT/CC, we will update this
section and note the changes in our revision history. If a particular
vendor is not listed below, we have not received their comments.
Please contact your vendor directly.


Block access to the Cobalt RaQ 4 administrative httpd server
(typically ports 81/TCP and 444/TCP) at your network perimeter. Note
that this will not protect vulnerable hosts within your network
perimeter. It is important to understand your network configuration
and service requirements before deciding what changes are appropriate.


The patch supplied by Sun removes the SHP completely. If your
operation requires the use of the SHP, you may need to find a suitable

Appendix A. - Vendor Information

Sun Microsystems

Sun confirms that a remote root exploit does affect the Sun/Cobalt
RaQ4 platform if the SHP (Security Hardening Patch) patch was

Sun has released a Sun Alert which describes how to remove the SHP


The removal patch is available from:

Appendix B. - References

1. CERT/CC Vulnerability Note: VU#810921 -
2. Sun SHP RaQ 4 User Guide -
3. COBALT RaQ 4 User Manual -

[email protected] publicly reported this vulnerability.

Author: Ian A. Finlay.

This document is available from:

CERT/CC Contact Information

Email: [email protected]
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

CERT/CC personnel answer the hotline 08:00-17:00 EST(GMT-5) /
EDT(GMT-4) Monday through Friday; they are on call for emergencies
during other hours, on U.S. holidays, and on weekends.

Using encryption

We strongly urge you to encrypt sensitive information sent by email.
Our public PGP key is available from

If you prefer to use DES, please call the CERT hotline for more

Getting security information

CERT publications and other security information are available from
our web site

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