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Home » Hacking News » KDE Security Advisory: Multiple vulnerabilities in KDE

KDE Security Advisory: Multiple vulnerabilities in KDE

by Nikola Strahija on December 22nd, 2002 In some instances KDE fails to properly quote parameters of instructions passed to a command shell for execution.

KDE Security Advisory: Multiple vulnerabilities in KDE
Original Release Date: 2002-12-20

0. References


1. Systems affected:

All KDE 2 releases and all KDE 3 releases (up to and including
KDE 3.0.5).

2. Overview:

In some instances KDE fails to properly quote parameters of
instructions passed to a command shell for execution.

These parameters may incorporate data such as URLs, filenames and
e-mail addresses, and this data may be provided remotely to a victim
in an e-mail, a webpage or files on a network filesystem or other
untrusted source.

By carefully crafting such data an attacker might be able to
execute arbitary commands on a vulnerable sytem using the victim's
account and privileges.

The KDE Project is not aware of any existing exploits of these
vulnerabilities, but is releasing this advisory with patches to
correct the issues. The patches also provide better safe guards and
check data from untrusted sources more strictly in multiple places.

3. Impact:

The vulnerabilities potentially enable local or remote attackers
to compromise the privacy of a vicitim's data and to execute arbitrary
shell commands with the victim's privileges, such as erasing files or
accessing or modifying data.

4. Solution:

The code audit resulted in several fixes which have been applied
to the KDE 2.2.x and each KDE 3.x branch.

All identified problems have been corrected in KDE 3.0.5a.
For affected KDE 3.0 systems, we strongly recommend upgrading
to this latest stable release.

KDE 3.0.5a can be downloaded from

Please visit the 3.0.5a Info Page (
and your vendor's website for exact package locations and information
about available binary packages or updates.

For affected KDE 2 systems, a patch for the 2.2.2 source code has
been made available which fixes these vulnerabilities. Contact your
OS vendor / binary package provider for information about how to
obtain updated binary packages.

5. Patches:

Patches are available for KDE 2.2.2 from the KDE FTP server


522331e2b47f84956eb2df1fcf89ba17 post-2.2.2-kdebase.diff
0dbd747882b942465646efe0ba6af802 post-2.2.2-kdegames.diff
4b9c93acd452d1de2f4f0bca5b05593f post-2.2.2-kdegraphics.diff
93a12594d0fb48c7b50bfd4a10a9935d post-2.2.2-kdelibs.diff
d1d25b39ee98e340ac3730f7afe54f0c post-2.2.2-kdemultimedia.diff
59ac7be4995bed8b119a4e5882e54cff post-2.2.2-kdenetwork.diff
0a3ae9eeeceefb2f631a26ec787663a9 post-2.2.2-kdepim.diff
690c7fdab1bbc743eafac9b06997a03b post-2.2.2-kdesdk.diff
8174e328f47e18a8a52b13b34f5c54e5 post-2.2.2-kdeutils.diff

6. Timeline and credits:

11/26/2002 FozZy of the "Hackademy Audit Project"
notified the KDE Security Team
about vulnerable code parts.
11/27/2002 Patches for the initially reported vulnerabilites
were applied to KDE CVS.
11/27/2002 An audit of KDE CVS was started to find more instances
of the problematic code sequences.
12/06/2002 KDE 3.1 release was delayed because the audit was not
yet finished.
12/17/2002 Patches for KDE 2.2.2 were created.
12/20/2002 KDE 3.0.5a tarballs were generated and released.
12/21/2002 Public Security Advisory by the KDE Security team.

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