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A security-hardening patch for Sun Cobalt appliances causes more problems than it solves, the company admits.

Instal the SHP (Security Hardening Patch) on Cobalt RaQ 4 server applianc and you make it vulnerable to attacks from crackers who could run arbitrary code on the appliances with root privileges, Sun warns in a notice issued this week.

An advisory by security clearing house CERT explains that the vulnerability arises because of a CGI script which oes not properly filter input.

The solution, as you've probably guessed, involves applying another patch, which removes the faulty Security Hardening Patch. Links to this temporary fix can be found in Sun's advisory here.

The Security Hardening Patch is not installed by default but many users have applied it in the hopes that it might provide improved buffer overflow protection and root privilege control. Such hopes have now been dashed with news that the patch creates more a security hole more serious than those it was designed to address.

There's no indication as yet when Sun will release a working security hardening patch but such a fix can't come a moment too soon. ®

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