CERT Reports Potential Compromise in Common DHCP Server

CERT has issued a security advisory regarding a format
string vulnerability in dhcpd, a piece of server software
released by the Internet Software Consortium (ISC) and used
to allocate network addresses and set other essential
network connection settings to clients. The organization
has released a patch to the server.

CERT reports that a quick fix involves ingress filtering
of tcp and udp packets on ports 67 and 68 (bootpc) to insure
external hosts are kept from accessing the vulnerable

The current list of vendors in the advisory reporting a
vulnerability include Alcatel, and Conectiva Linux. A
longer list of all vendors is available on an update page
maintained by CERT, (see Resources, below) which the
organization will update as vendors report on their
products. Currently the majority of UNIX and Linux vendors,
Apple, Dell, and Compaq are listed as “unknown.” Microsoft reports that its operating systems do not ship with the ISC’s dhcpd server and are not affected.

A format string vulnerability involves the deliberate
passing of input to a program that causes it to execute
arbitrary instructions. In the case of software that runs
with administrative or root privileges, these instructions
can then be used to gain control of the computer running the
vulnerable software, or simply perform malicious or damaging


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