A buffer overflow vulnerability caused by an integer underflow in the file_printf function in Unix-like operating systems has been patched.
The flaw is contained within the file program and could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code or create a denial of service condition, according to a posting on the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Teams Web site.
File is a program used to determine what type of data is contained in a file. To trigger the overflow, a hacker would need to get a user to run a vulnerable version of file on a specially crafted file, the advisory states.
"Version 4.20 of file was released to address this issue," according to the US-CERT advisory.
If exploited, an attacker could execute malicious code with the permissions of the user running the vulnerable version of file or cause the program to crash, creating a denial-of-service condition.
Patches by Red Hat and Ubuntu were released more than a week ago for users of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5 as well as Ubuntu 5.10, Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, Ubuntu 6.10 and corresponding versions of Kubuntu, Edubuntu, and Xubuntu. OpenWall GNU/*Linux and Mandriva have also released updates to address the issue.
In addition, running the file program with a limited user account may partially address the impact of a successful exploit of the flaw.
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