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Crackers exploit two-month old Solaris bug

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Crackers are actively exploiting Unix systems left vulnerable to a two-month old security bug.

In an advisory, CERT, the security clearing house, states it has received "credible reports" of scanning and exploitation of Solaris systems running the CDE Subprocess Control Service buffer overflow vulnerability.

Although the bug affects most Unix systems, network traces provided by The Honeynet Project provides evidence that crackers are focusing on attacking Sun boxes on the Internet using the bug.

The root cause of the flaw is a remotely exploitable buffer overflow vulnerability in a shared library which is used by dtspcd, a Common Desktop Environment (CDE) Subprocess Control Service. The dtspcd service is a network daemon that accepts requests from clients to execute commands and launch applications remotely.

During client negotiation, dtspcd accepts a length value and subsequent data from the client without performing adequate input validation. As a result, a cracker can manipulate data sent to dtspcd and trigger a buffer overflow, potentially executing malicious code with root privileges.

Sun, along with other Unix vendors, has released a patch to address the problem, and admins are urged to consider applying the fix.

As a workaround, users could choose to disable the dtspcd service or use a firewall or other packet-filtering technology, block or restrict access to the port used by the Subprocess Control Service (6112/tcp - a port also used for network gaming). ®

External links

CERT's updated advisory
Links to vendor patches

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