Debian Security Advisory

DSA-3105-1 heirloom-mailx -- security update

Date Reported:
16 Dec 2014
Affected Packages:
Security database references:
In Mitre's CVE dictionary: CVE-2004-2771, CVE-2014-7844.
More information:

Two security vulnerabilities were discovered in Heirloom mailx, an implementation of the mail command:

  • CVE-2004-2771

    mailx interprets shell meta-characters in certain email addresses.

  • CVE-2014-7844

    An unexpected feature of mailx treats syntactically valid email addresses as shell commands to execute.

Shell command execution can be re-enabled using the expandaddr option.

Note that this security update does not remove all mailx facilities for command execution, though. Scripts which send mail to addresses obtained from an untrusted source (such as a web form) should use the -- separator before the email addresses (which was fixed to work properly in this update), or they should be changed to invoke mail -t or sendmail -i -t instead, passing the recipient addresses as part of the mail header.

For the stable distribution (wheezy), these problems have been fixed in version 12.5-2+deb7u1.

We recommend that you upgrade your heirloom-mailx packages.