SUSE Security Announcement: kernel (SuSE-SA:2004:010)
Posted on: 05/04/2004 03:21 AM

A kernel update has been released for SUSE Linux


SUSE Security Announcement

Package: Linux Kernel
Announcement-ID: SuSE-SA:2004:010
Date: Tuesday, May 5th 2004 02:30 MEST
Affected products: 8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 9.0, 9.1
SuSE Linux Database Server,
SuSE eMail Server III, 3.1
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7, 8
SuSE Linux Firewall on CD/Admin host
SuSE Linux Connectivity Server
SuSE Linux Office Server
UnitedLinux 1.0
SuSE Linux Desktop 1.0
Vulnerability Type: privilege escalation, local DoS
Severity (1-10): 7
SUSE default package: yes
Cross References: CAN-2004-0427

Content of this advisory:
1) security vulnerability resolved:
- do_fork() memory leak (CAN-2004-0427)
- setsockopt() buffer overflow (CAN-2004-0424)
- misuse of fb_copy_cmap() (CAN-2004-0229)
- cpufreq_procctl() integer overflow (CAN-2004-0228)
- buffer overflow in panic() (CAN-2004-0394)
- wrong permissions on /proc/scsi/qla2300/HbaApiNode
problem description, discussion, solution and upgrade information
2) pending vulnerabilities, solutions, workarounds:
- canna
- xchat
- tcpdump
- lha
3) standard appendix (further information)


1) problem description, brief discussion, solution, upgrade information

Various vulnerabilities have been fixed in the newly available kernel
updates. The updates consist of fixes for the following vulnerabilities:

- The do_fork() memory leak, which could lead to a local DoS attack.
All kernels except for SLES7 are affected.
- The setsockopt() MCAST buffer overflow which allows local attackers
to execute arbitrary code with root privileges. Only SLES8 based
products and SL 8.1 and SL 9.0 kernels are affected by this bug.
- The misuse of the fb_copy_cmap() function which could also allow
local attackers to execute arbitrary code with root privileges.
Only the SL 9.1 kernel is affected.
- The integer overflow in the cpufreq_procctl() function.
Only the SL 9.1 kernel is affected.
- The wrong permissions on /proc/scsi/qla2300/HbaApiNode which allow
local attackers to start DoS attacks. SLES8 kernels and SL 8.1 and
9.0 kernels are affected.
- A buffer overflow in panic(). Although there seems no way to trigger
this bug, it has been fixed.

If you use a maintained product or SuSE Linux 8.1 or 9.0, we recommend
an update. If you offer shell access to users we recommend an update in
any case.

The following paragraphs will guide you through the installation
process in a step-by-step fashion. The character sequence "****"
marks the beginning of a new paragraph. In some cases, you decide
if the paragraph is needed for you or not. Please read through all
of the steps down to the end. All of the commands that need to be
executed are required to be run as the superuser (root). Each step
relies on the steps before to complete successfully.
Note: The update packages for the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7
(SLES7) are being tested at the moment and will be published as soon
as possible.

**** Step 1: Determine the needed kernel type

Please use the following command to find the kernel type that is
installed on your system:

rpm -qf /boot/vmlinuz

The following options are possible (disregarding the version and build
number following the name, separated by the "-" character):

k_deflt # default kernel, good for most systems.
k_i386 # kernel for older processors and chipsets
k_athlon # kernel made specifically for AMD Athlon(tm) family processors
k_psmp # kernel for Pentium-I dual processor systems
k_smp # kernel for SMP systems (Pentium-II and above)
k_smp4G # kernel for SMP systems which supports a maximum of 4G of RAM

**** Step 2: Download the package for your system

Please download the kernel RPM package for your distribution with the
name starting as indicated by Step 1. The list of all kernel rpm
packages is appended below. Note: The kernel-source package does not
contain any binary kernel in bootable form. Instead, it contains the
sources that the binary kernel rpm packages are made from. It can be
used by administrators who have decided to build their own kernel.
Since the kernel-source.rpm is an installable (compiled) package that
contains sources for the linux kernel, it is not the source RPM for
the kernel RPM binary packages.

The kernel RPM binary packages for the distributions can be found at these
locations below


After downloading the kernel RPM package for your system, you should
verify the authenticity of the kernel rpm package using the methods as
listed in section 3) of each SUSE Security Announcement.

**** Step 3: Installing your kernel rpm package

Install the rpm package that you have downloaded in Steps 3 or 4 with
the command
rpm -Uhv --nodeps --force <K_FILE.RPM>
where <K_FILE.RPM> is the name of the rpm package that you downloaded.

Warning: After performing this step, your system will likely not be
able to boot if the following steps have not been fully

If you run SUSE LINUX 8.1 and haven't applied the previous
kernel update (SUSE-SA:2003:034), AND use the freeswan package,
you also need to update the freeswan rpm as a dependency as offered
by YOU (YaST Online Update). The package can be downloaded from

**** Step 4: configuring and creating the initrd

The initrd is a ramdisk that is being loaded into the memory of your
system together with the kernel boot image by the bootloader. The
kernel uses the content of this ramdisk to execute commands that must
be run before the kernel can mount its actual root filesystem. It is
usually used to initialize SCSI drivers or NIC drivers for diskless

The variable INITRD_MODULES in /etc/sysconfig/kernel determines
which kernel modules will be loaded in the initrd before the kernel
has mounted its actual root filesystem. The variable should contain
your SCSI adapter (if any) or filesystem driver modules.

With the installation of the new kernel, the initrd has to be
re-packed with the update kernel modules. Please run the command


as root to create a new init ramdisk (initrd) for your system.
On SuSE Linux 8.1 and later, this is done automatically when the
RPM is installed.

**** Step 5: bootloader

If you run a SUSE LINUX 8.x or a SLES8 system, there are two options:
Depending on your software configuration, you have the lilo bootloader
or the grub bootloader installed and initialized on your system.
The grub bootloader does not require any further actions to be
performed after the new kernel images have been moved in place by the
rpm Update command.
If you have a lilo bootloader installed and initialized, then the lilo
program must be run as root. Use the command

grep LOADER_TYPE /etc/sysconfig/bootloader

to find out which boot loader is configured. If it is lilo, then you
must run the lilo command as root. If grub is listed, then your system
does not require any bootloader initialization.

Warning: An improperly installed bootloader may render your system

**** Step 6: reboot

If all of the steps above have been successfully applied to your
system, then the new kernel including the kernel modules and the
initrd should be ready to boot. The system needs to be rebooted for
the changes to become active. Please make sure that all steps are
complete, then reboot using the command
shutdown -r now
init 6

Your system should now shut down and reboot with the new kernel.

Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages
are being offered to install from the maintenance web.

There is no workaround known.

Please download the update package for your distribution and verify its
integrity by the methods listed in section 3) of this announcement.
Then, to apply the update use the command "rpm -Fhv file.rpm".
Our maintenance customers are being notified individually. The packages
are being offered to install from the maintenance web.

Intel i386 Platform:

patch rpm(s):
source rpm(s):

source rpm(s):

source rpm(s):

source rpm(s):

source rpm(s):

Opteron x86_64 Platform:

patch rpm(s):
source rpm(s):

source rpm(s):


2) Pending vulnerabilities in SUSE Distributions and Workarounds:

- canna
New canna packages are available on our ftp servers, fixing tmp race

- xchat
A buffer overflow in the SOCKS5 code of the XChat program has been
fixed. New packages are available on our ftp servers.

- tcpdump
The tcpdump program contained a remote DoS condition in its ISAKMP
packet handling (CAN-2004-0183 and CAN-2004-0184).
Fixed packages are available on our ftp servers.

- lha
A buffer overflow in the header parsing routines of lha has been fixed.
Additionally lha did not properly handle pathnames within archives
(CAN-2004-0234 and CAN-2004-0235).
Fixed packages are available on our ftp servers.


3) standard appendix: authenticity verification, additional information

- Package authenticity verification:

SUSE update packages are available on many mirror ftp servers all over
the world. While this service is being considered valuable and important
to the free and open source software community, many users wish to be
sure about the origin of the package and its content before installing
the package. There are two verification methods that can be used
independently from each other to prove the authenticity of a downloaded
file or rpm package:
1) md5sums as provided in the (cryptographically signed) announcement.
2) using the internal gpg signatures of the rpm package.

1) execute the command
md5sum <name-of-the-file.rpm>
after you downloaded the file from a SUSE ftp server or its mirrors.
Then, compare the resulting md5sum with the one that is listed in the
announcement. Since the announcement containing the checksums is
cryptographically signed (usually using the key,
the checksums show proof of the authenticity of the package.
We disrecommend to subscribe to security lists which cause the
email message containing the announcement to be modified so that
the signature does not match after transport through the mailing
list software.
Downsides: You must be able to verify the authenticity of the
announcement in the first place. If RPM packages are being rebuilt
and a new version of a package is published on the ftp server, all
md5 sums for the files are useless.

2) rpm package signatures provide an easy way to verify the authenticity
of an rpm package. Use the command
rpm -v --checksig <file.rpm>
to verify the signature of the package, where <file.rpm> is the
filename of the rpm package that you have downloaded. Of course,
package authenticity verification can only target an un-installed rpm
package file.
a) gpg is installed
b) The package is signed using a certain key. The public part of this
key must be installed by the gpg program in the directory
~/.gnupg/ under the user's home directory who performs the
signature verification (usually root). You can import the key
that is used by SUSE in rpm packages for SUSE Linux by saving
this announcement to a file ("announcement.txt") and
running the command (do "su -" to be root):
gpg --batch; gpg < announcement.txt | gpg --import
SUSE Linux distributions version 7.1 and thereafter install the
key "" upon installation or upgrade, provided that
the package gpg is installed. The file containing the public key
is placed at the top-level directory of the first CD (pubring.gpg)
and at .

- SUSE runs two security mailing lists to which any interested party may
- general/linux/SUSE security discussion.
All SUSE security announcements are sent to this list.
To subscribe, send an email to
- SUSE's announce-only mailing list.
Only SUSE's security announcements are sent to this list.
To subscribe, send an email to

For general information or the frequently asked questions (faq)
send mail to:
<> or
<> respectively.

SUSE's security contact is <> or <>.
The <> public key is listed below.

The information in this advisory may be distributed or reproduced,
provided that the advisory is not modified in any way. In particular,
it is desired that the clear-text signature shows proof of the
authenticity of the text.
SUSE Linux AG makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever with respect
to the information contained in this security advisory.

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