Debian Security Advisory

DSA-158-1 gaim -- arbitrary program execution

Date Reported:
27 Aug 2002
Affected Packages:
Security database references:
In the Bugtraq database (at SecurityFocus): BugTraq ID 5574.
In Mitre's CVE dictionary: CVE-2002-0989.
More information:

The developers of Gaim, an instant messenger client that combines several different networks, found a vulnerability in the hyperlink handling code. The 'Manual' browser command passes an untrusted string to the shell without escaping or reliable quoting, permitting an attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the users machine. Unfortunately, Gaim doesn't display the hyperlink before the user clicks on it. Users who use other inbuilt browser commands aren't vulnerable.

This problem has been fixed in version 0.58-2.2 for the current stable distribution (woody) and in version 0.59.1-2 for the unstable distribution (sid). The old stable distribution (potato) is not affected since it doesn't ship the Gaim program.

The fixed version of Gaim no longer passes the user's manual browser command to the shell. Commands which contain the %s in quotes will need to be amended, so they don't contain any quotes. The 'Manual' browser command can be edited in the 'General' pane of the 'Preferences' dialog, which can be accessed by clicking 'Options' from the login window, or 'Tools' and then 'Preferences' from the menu bar in the buddy list window.

We recommend that you upgrade your gaim package immediately.

Fixed in:

Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (woody)

Intel IA-32:
Intel IA-64:
HP Precision:
Motorola 680x0:
Big endian MIPS:
Little endian MIPS:
IBM S/390:
Sun Sparc:

MD5 checksums of the listed files are available in the original advisory.