Users login

Create an account »


Users login

Home » Hacking News » RedHat RHSA-2003:109-03: mutt buffer overflow

RedHat RHSA-2003:109-03: mutt buffer overflow

by Nikola Strahija on April 6th, 2003 A potential buffer overflow exists in Mutt 1.4 which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code. Proframs that use Mutt's code, such as Balsa, are therefore vulnerable.

Red Hat Security Advisory

Synopsis: Updated balsa and mutt packages fix vulnerabilities
Advisory ID: RHSA-2003:109-03
Issue date: 2003-04-03
Updated on: 2003-04-03
Product: Red Hat Linux
Keywords: balsa mutt IMAP server UTF7 UTF8
Cross references:
CVE Names: CAN-2003-0140 CAN-2002-1090

1. Topic:

New Balsa, Mutt, and libesmtp packages that fix potential buffer overflow
vulnerabilities are now available.

2. Relevant releases/architectures:

Red Hat Linux 7.2 - i386, ia64
Red Hat Linux 7.3 - i386
Red Hat Linux 8.0 - i386
Red Hat Linux 9 - i386

3. Problem description:

Mutt is a text-mode email client. Balsa is a GNOME email client which
includes code from Mutt.

A potential buffer overflow in Mutt version 1.4 exists when parsing mailbox
names returned by an IMAP server. It is possible that a hostile IMAP server
could cause arbitrary code to be executed by the user running Mutt. This
issue affects versions of Mutt provided with Red Hat Linux 8.0 and Red Hat
Linux 9.

Versions 1.2 and higher of Balsa incorporate the vulnerable Mutt IMAP code
and are therefore vulnerable to this issue as well. It is possible that a
hostile IMAP server could cause arbitrary code to be executed by the user
running Balsa. This issue affects Red Hat Linux 7.2, 7.3, 8.0 and 9.

Additionally, a buffer overflow in libesmtp, an SMTP library used by Balsa,
before version 0.8.11 allows a hostile remote SMTP server to execute
arbitrary code via a certain response or cause a denial of service via long
server responses. This issue only affects versions of libesmtp provided by
Red Hat Linux 7.2 and 7.3.

Users of Mutt and Balsa are recommended to update to these erratum packages
containing updated versions of Mutt, Balsa, and libesmtp which are not
vulnerable to these issues.

4. Solution:

Before applying this update, make sure all previously released errata
relevant to your system have been applied.

To update all RPMs for your particular architecture, run:

rpm -Fvh [filenames]

where [filenames] is a list of the RPMs you wish to upgrade. Only those
RPMs which are currently installed will be updated. Those RPMs which are
not installed but included in the list will not be updated. Note that you
can also use wildcards (*.rpm) if your current directory *only* contains the
desired RPMs.

Please note that this update is also available via Red Hat Network. Many
people find this an easier way to apply updates. To use Red Hat Network,
launch the Red Hat Update Agent with the following command:


This will start an interactive process that will result in the appropriate
RPMs being upgraded on your system.

5. Bug IDs fixed ( for more info):

66389 - Buffer overflow in versions < 0.8.11
86394 - Security flaw in mutt discovered by Core Security Technologies

6. RPMs required:

Red Hat Linux 7.2:




Red Hat Linux 7.3:



Red Hat Linux 8.0:



Red Hat Linux 9:



7. Verification:

MD5 sum Package Name
5bab8505c792c1682072f90ec5babe6a 7.2/en/os/SRPMS/balsa-1.2.4-7.7.2.src.rpm
d5234163353ecf276c872abf253703d9 7.2/en/os/SRPMS/libesmtp-0.8.12-0.7.x.src.rpm
9a2394f555cc8ea15891e04da2e73030 7.2/en/os/i386/balsa-1.2.4-7.7.2.i386.rpm
f4d4ae7c3af052f43e1873169ed06036 7.2/en/os/i386/libesmtp-0.8.12-0.7.x.i386.rpm
08be48e6749eaa9eee9c3c130c8e8bd5 7.2/en/os/i386/libesmtp-devel-0.8.12-0.7.x.i386.rpm
fb4a47e64ac2a8e35ea98bd64f980eb5 7.2/en/os/ia64/balsa-1.2.4-7.7.2.ia64.rpm
f5dd08e62f829edf0d1f24a26b7ab364 7.2/en/os/ia64/libesmtp-0.8.12-0.7.x.ia64.rpm
af33956420acf4c8c1e551850aaec2c8 7.2/en/os/ia64/libesmtp-devel-0.8.12-0.7.x.ia64.rpm
23c4b1e9fb9e3b9d59329f878b7ddd56 7.3/en/os/SRPMS/balsa-1.2.4-7.7.3.src.rpm
d5234163353ecf276c872abf253703d9 7.3/en/os/SRPMS/libesmtp-0.8.12-0.7.x.src.rpm
ef25302d3b208b76d574c1dd32baf160 7.3/en/os/i386/balsa-1.2.4-7.7.3.i386.rpm
f4d4ae7c3af052f43e1873169ed06036 7.3/en/os/i386/libesmtp-0.8.12-0.7.x.i386.rpm
08be48e6749eaa9eee9c3c130c8e8bd5 7.3/en/os/i386/libesmtp-devel-0.8.12-0.7.x.i386.rpm
ee54ef0139d795761ab552085100d57f 8.0/en/os/SRPMS/balsa-1.2.4-8.src.rpm
db56cb885a976cb82b9493a7bcad0fbc 8.0/en/os/SRPMS/mutt-1.4.1-0.8.x.src.rpm
6e65eeccc64b858b12e8cdfdf845bae6 8.0/en/os/i386/balsa-1.2.4-8.i386.rpm
074c0b649d51043349c2ca628fc7d217 8.0/en/os/i386/mutt-1.4.1-0.8.x.i386.rpm
a10d74ad40852b6dd43fdbcb51fac529 9/en/os/SRPMS/balsa-2.0.6-2.src.rpm
9e6dc99dcd0adc430995776fedf89712 9/en/os/SRPMS/mutt-1.4.1-1.src.rpm
26b0deca515d58111780cb510236776a 9/en/os/i386/balsa-2.0.6-2.i386.rpm
389f755b4702a1acb1a8f891750fe7b2 9/en/os/i386/mutt-1.4.1-1.i386.rpm

These packages are GPG signed by Red Hat for security. Our key is
available at

You can verify each package with the following command:

rpm --checksig -v

If you only wish to verify that each package has not been corrupted or
tampered with, examine only the md5sum with the following command:


8. References:

9. Contact:

The Red Hat security contact is . More contact
details at

Copyright 2003 Red Hat, Inc.

Newsletter signup

Signup to our monthly newsletter and stay in touch with IT news!

Free E-books

We've got ebooks! But they're not online. :( Please give us a few days to bring downloads back.


Have something to say or just wanna drop us a line? Please keep this in mind: to spam, we reply with spam.

Contact us »