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FreeBSD Security Advisory: FreeBSD-SA-00:07.mh
From: security-officer () FREEBSD ORG (FreeBSD Security Officer)
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 09:33:08 -0800


FreeBSD-SA-00:07                                           Security Advisory
                                                                FreeBSD, Inc.

Topic:          mh/nmh/ja-mh/exmh/exmh2/ja-exmh2 ports allow remote execution
                of binary code

Category:       ports
Module:         mh/nmh/ja-mh/exmh/exmh2/ja-exmh2
Announced:      2000-03-15
Affects:        Ports collection before the correction date.
Corrected:      [See below for a more complete description]
                All versions fixed in 4.0-RELEASE.
                mh: 2000-03-04
                nmh: 2000-02-29
                ja-mh: 2000-03-11
                exmh: 2000-03-05
                exmh2: 2000-03-05
                ja-exmh2: 2000-03-11
FreeBSD only:   NO

I.   Background

MH and its successor NMH are popular Mail User Agents. EXMH and EXMH2 are
TCL/TK-based front-ends to the MH system. There are also Japanese-language
versions of the MH and EXMH2 ports.

II.  Problem Description

The mhshow command used for viewing MIME attachments contains a buffer
overflow which can be exploited by a specially-crafted email attachment,
which will allow the execution of arbitrary code as the local user when the
attachment is opened.

The *MH ports are not installed by default, nor are they "part of
FreeBSD" as such: they are part of the FreeBSD ports collection, which
contains over 3100 third-party applications in a ready-to-install
format. The FreeBSD 4.0-RELEASE ports collection is not vulnerable to
this problem.

FreeBSD makes no claim about the security of these third-party
applications, although an effort is underway to provide a security audit
of the most security-critical ports.

III. Impact

An attacker who can convince a user to open a hostile MIME attachment sent
as part of an email message can execute arbitrary binary code running with
the privileges of that user.

If you have not chosen to install any of the mh/nmh/ja-mh/exmh/exmh2/ja-exmh2
ports/packages, then your system is not vulnerable.

IV.  Workaround

1) Remove the mhshow binary, located in /usr/local/bin/mhshow. This will
prevent the viewing of MIME attachments from within *mh.

2) Remove the mh/nmh/ja-mh/exmh/exmh2/ja-exmh2 ports, if you you have
installed them.

V.   Solution

The English language version of the MH software is no longer actively
developed, and no fix is currently available. It is unknown whether a fix
to the problem will be forthcoming - consider upgrading to use NMH instead,
which is the designated successor of the MH software. EXMH and EXMH2 can
both be compiled to use NMH instead (this is now the default behaviour). It
is not necessary to recompile EXMH/EXMH2 after reinstalling NMH.

The Japanese-language version of MH is being actively developed and has
been patched to fix the problem.

SOLUTION: Remove any old versions of the mail/mh, mail/nmh or japanese/mh
ports and perform one of the following:

1) Upgrade your entire ports collection and rebuild the mail/nmh port, or the
japanese/mh port.

2) Reinstall a new package obtained from:



3) download a new port skeleton for the nmh/ja-mh port from:


and use it to rebuild the port.

4) Use the portcheckout utility to automate option (3) above. The
portcheckout port is available in /usr/ports/devel/portcheckout or the
package can be obtained from:


Version: 2.6.2


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