Red Hat, Inc. Security Advisory
Package inews

Synopsis Buffer overflow problem in the inews program

Advisory ID RHSA-1999:033-01

Issue Date 1999-09-01

Updated on

Keywords inn inews buffer overflow

1. Topic:
New packages for INN are available for all Red Hat Linux platforms. This version of the package fixes a buffer overrun problem discovered in the inews program, which is part of the INN distribution. No active exploits of the problem have been found so far.

2. Bug IDs fixed:

3. Relevant releases/architectures:
Red Hat Linux 6.0, all architectures

4. Obsoleted by:

5. Conflicts with:

6. RPMs required:



inn-2.2.1- 1.i386.rpm
inn- devel-2.2.1-1.i386.rpm
inews-2.2.1- 1.i386.rpm



inn-2.2.1- 1.alpha.rpm
inn- devel-2.2.1-1.alpha.rpm
inews- 2.2.1-1.alpha.rpm



inn-2.2.1- 1.sparc.rpm
inn- devel-2.2.1-1.sparc.rpm
inews- 2.2.1-1.sparc.rpm



inn-2.2.1- 1.src.rpm

Architecture neutral:


7. Problem description:
INN versions 2.2 and earlier have a buffer overflow-related security condition in the inews program.

inews is a program used to inject new postings into the news system. It is used by many news reading programs and scripts. The default installation is with inews setgid to the news group and world executable. It's possible that exploiting the buffer overflow could give the attacker news group privileges, which could possibly be extended to root access.

Note that this chain of elevation of privileges is theoretical rather than actual; the ability of an attacker to do this indicates bugs in other portions of INN. However, given the degree to which INN trusts the news user and news group, it's not unlikely that such bugs exist.

No case of this being exploited has been shown yet.

If you run a news server with no local readers (i.e. all your clients are remote) then you can remove the setgid-bit on inews.

chmod 0550 inews

The rnews program, used to feed news via uucp, is setuid to the uucp user. No buffer overflow problems have been found in rnews, but if you don't run uucp on your machine, then we recommend disabling the setuid bit on rnews:

chown news rnews chgrp news rnews chmod 0550 rnews

Red Hat Linux releases 4.2 and 5.2 shipped with a version of INN that is no longer being maintained. We have back-ported the latest 2.2.1 INN version to those older Red Hat Linux releases. The new package will not be an exact drop in for the older packages, so it is advisable to save you config files first before starting the migration to the new code base. Alternatively you can implement some of the solutions described above if you do not want to update to a new version of INN.

Also, on Red Hat Linux 4.2 inn will require a new package named cleanfeed that is also shipped as part of this advisory.

Thanks go to the members of the BUGTRAQ mailing list for bringing this issue to our attention.

8. Solution:
For each RPM for your particular architecture, run:

rpm -Uvh filename

where filename is the name of the RPM.

9. Verification:

 MD5 sum                           Package Name

71dfbbfaddc1596f1e6357562691e3e5  i386/inn-2.2.1-1.i386.rpm
2201608f6d72d96041998349b401061c  i386/inn-devel-2.2.1-1.i386.rpm
5dad0596a6db0beace1441484229cb35  alpha/inn-2.2.1-1.alpha.rpm
fbc0789c46f953dffdd3503551f2a293  alpha/inn-devel-2.2.1-1.alpha.rpm
b8d18a074b1e703e386a9b514e099653  sparc/inn-2.2.1-1.sparc.rpm
b539e8f684279b4e607d475d5225844d  sparc/inn-devel-2.2.1-1.sparc.rpm
7c58191dc271e462e59e97e58735e52f  SRPMS/inn-2.2.1-1.src.rpm

These packages are also PGP signed by Red Hat Inc. for security. Our key is available at: https://www.Red t.html

You can verify each package with the following command:

rpm --checksig filename

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

rpm --checksig --nopgp filename

10. References: