Feeds

Sendmail suffers second major flaw

Particularly dangerous

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Makers of Sendmail, the popular e-mail transmission software, were taken by surprise over the weekend by a public announcement of another flaw in the program.
Systems affected by the vulnerability include all versions of Sendmail Pro, as well as systems running open-source Sendmail versions prior to 8.12.9, including UNIX and Linux systems. A complete list of affected systems is available from CERT.

CERT said an attacker could gain control of a vulnerable Sendmail server or create a denial of service condition by exploiting the vulnerability, which was discovered by Michal Zalewski. The flaw is considered particularly dangerous since it can be exploited simply by sending a properly formatted e-mail to a vulnerable system, and CERT said the vulnerability has been successfully exploited in laboratory conditions. An e-mail message capable of exploiting the vulnerability would probably pass through a firewall undetected.

The vulnerability is different from the Sendmail flaw identified earlier this month. In that case, the flaw had been discovered several months earlier by US e-security firm Internet Security Systems, who quietly passed on the information to the US Department of Homeland Security. The two bodies then cooperated to develop patches prior to the announcement of the flaw in early March.

The new flaw, however, was evidently publicised soon after its discovery, forcing Sendmail to scramble over the weekend to acknowledge and repair the fault. In its bug notice, Sendmail apologised for releasing the information on the vulnerability on a Saturday. "We apologise for releasing this information today (2003-03-29) but we were forced to do so by an e-mail on a public mailing list which contains information about the security flaw," the company said.

Many software vendors include a version of Sendmail as part of their software packages. With the earlier vulnerability, vendors like HP, IBM and Apple were able to make their own assessment and ready patches before the Internet community was told of the fault.

The premature publicity surrounding the new flaw, however, means that a number of major vendors have no patches available yet. Sendmail has posted patches for earlier versions of Sendmail but is urging users to upgrade to version 8.12.9 wherever possible.

CERT is updating its advisory on the vulnerability as new information becomes available. © ENN

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.