TUCoPS :: Web :: General :: ca200210.txt

CERT Advisory CA-2002-10 Format String Vulnerability in rpc.rwalld


   CERT Advisory CA-2002-10 Format String Vulnerability in rpc.rwalld

Original release date: May 1, 2002
Last revised: --
Source: CERT/CC

   A complete revision history can be found at the end of this file.

Systems Affected

     * Sun Solaris 2.5.1, 2.6, 7, and 8


   The  rwall daemon (rpc.rwalld) is a utility that is used to listen for
   wall  requests  on  the  network. When a request is received, it calls
   wall,  which  sends  the  message  to  all terminals of a time-sharing
   system.  A  format  string  vulnerability  may  permit  an intruder to
   execute  code  with  the  privileges  of  the rwall daemon. A proof of
   concept  exploit  is  publicly  available, but we have not seen active
   scanning or exploitation of this vulnerability.

I. Description

   rpc.rwalld is a utility that listens for remote wall requests. Wall is
   used  to  send a message to all terminals of a time-sharing system. If
   the  wall command cannot be executed, the rwall daemon will display an
   error message.

   An  intruder can consume system resources and potentially prevent wall
   from  executing, which would trigger the rwall daemon's error message.
   A  format  string  vulnerability  exists in the code that displays the
   error  message.  This vulnerability may permit the intruder to execute
   code with the privileges of the rwall daemon.

   This  vulnerability  may  be  exploited  both  locally  and  remotely,
   although remote exploitation is significantly more difficult.

II. Impact

   An  intruder can execute code with the privileges of the rwall daemon,
   typically root.

III. Solution

   Apply a patch

   Appendix A contains information provided by vendors for this advisory.

   If  a patch is not available, disable the rwall daemon (rpc.rwalld) in
   inetd.conf until a patch can be applied.

   If  disabling  the rwall daemon is not an option, implement a firewall
   to  limit  access  to rpc.rwalld (typically port 32777/UDP). Note that
   this will not mitigate all vectors of attack.

Appendix A. - Vendor Information

   This  appendix  contains  information  provided  by  vendors  for this
   advisory.  As  vendors  report new information to the CERT/CC, we will
   update this section and note the changes in our revision history. If a
   particular  vendor is not listed below, please check the Vulnerability
   Note (VU#638099) or contact your vendor directly.


     HP is not vulnerable.


     IBM's  AIX  operating  system,  versions  4.3.x  and  5.1L,  is not
     susceptible to the vulnerability described.


     NetBSD has never been vulnerable to this problem.

   Sun Microsystems

     Sun  confirms  that  there  is  a  format  string  vulnerability in
     rpc.rwalld(1M)  which affects Solaris 2.5.1, 2.6, 7 and 8. However,
     this  issue  relies  on  a  combination  of  events,  including the
     exhaustion of system resources, which are difficult to control by a
     remote  user  in order to be exploited. Disabling rpc.rwalld(1M) in
     inetd.conf(4)  is  the  recommended  workaround  until  patches are

     Sun  is  currently  generating  patches  for this issue and will be
     releasing  a  Sun Security Bulletin once the patches are available.
     The bulletin will be available from:


Sun patches are available from:


   The  CERT Coordination Center acknowledges "GOBBLES" as the discoverer
   of  this vulnerability and thanks Sun Microsystems for their technical

   Feedback can be directed to the author: Jason A. Rafail

   This document is available from:

CERT/CC Contact Information

   Email: cert@cert.org
Phone: +1 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline)
          Fax: +1 412-268-6989
          Postal address:
          CERT Coordination Center
          Software Engineering Institute
          Carnegie Mellon University
          Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890

   CERT/CC   personnel   answer  the  hotline  08:00-17:00  EST(GMT-5)  /
   EDT(GMT-4)  Monday  through  Friday;  they are on call for emergencies
   during other hours, on U.S. holidays, and on weekends.

Using encryption

   We  strongly  urge you to encrypt sensitive information sent by email.
   Our public PGP key is available from


If  you  prefer  to  use  DES,  please  call the CERT hotline for more

Getting security information

   CERT  publications  and  other security information are available from
   our web site


To  subscribe  to  the CERT mailing list for advisories and bulletins,
   send  email  to majordomo@cert.org. Please include in the body of your

   subscribe cert-advisory

   *  "CERT"  and  "CERT  Coordination Center" are registered in the U.S.
   Patent and Trademark Office.

   Any  material furnished by Carnegie Mellon University and the Software
   Engineering  Institute  is  furnished  on  an  "as is" basis. Carnegie
   Mellon University makes no warranties of any kind, either expressed or
   implied  as  to  any matter including, but not limited to, warranty of
   fitness  for  a  particular purpose or merchantability, exclusivity or
   results  obtained from use of the material. Carnegie Mellon University
   does  not  make  any warranty of any kind with respect to freedom from
   patent, trademark, or copyright infringement.

   Conditions for use, disclaimers, and sponsorship information

   Copyright 2002 Carnegie Mellon University.

   Revision History
      May 1, 2002:  Initial release

Version: PGP 6.5.8


TUCoPS is optimized to look best in Firefox® on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986-2023 AOH