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Date: Wed, 25 May 2005 13:25:35 -0400
From: "iDEFENSE Labs" <>
To: <>, <>,
Subject: iDEFENSE Security Advisory 05.25.05: GNU
	Mailutils 0.6 imap4d FETCH Command Resource Consumption DoS

GNU Mailutils 0.6 imap4d FETCH Command Resource Consumption DoS

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 05.25.05
May 25, 2005


The GNU mailutils package is a collection of mail-related
utilities, including local and remote mailbox access services.
More information is available at the following site:


Remote exploitation of an input validation in the FETCH command
of the imap4d server from the GNU Project's Mailutils package
error may allow an authenticated remote attacker to perform a
denial of service against an affected system.

The imap4d server allows remote users to retrieve their email
via the Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4rev1 as
specified in RFC3501. This is a client/server protocol supported
by a large number of email clients on multiple platforms.

The vulnerability specifically exists in the handling of the
sequence range agument to the FETCH command. A sequence range
such as 1:4294967294 will cause the the spawned instance of the
server to enter what is effectively an infinite loop, allocating
memory on each cycle.


Successful exploitation of the vulnerability would allow a
remote authenticated used to cause the system hosting the imap4d
to become unresponsive due to lack of memory resources. On some
operating systems, such as Linux, processes will be killed by
the kernel out of memory manager.


iDEFENSE Labs has verified the existance of this vulnerability
in versions 0.5 and 0.6 of the GNU Mailutils package. It is
suspected that any previous versions which contain the imap4d
server are also affected.


iDEFENSE is currently unaware of any effective workarounds for
this issue. Access to the affected host should be filtered at
the network boundary if global accessibility is not required.
Restricting access to only trusted hosts and networks may reduce
the likelihood of exploitation.

Applying resource limits on the memory avaialable to the imap4d
process will cause the spawned instance of the server to exit
when it reaches the limit. Information on how to to perform this
operation is operating system dependant, and may cause some
normal operations, especially on large messages, to fail.


This vulnerability has been fixed in GNU mailutils 0.6.90 which is
available for download at:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-1522 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


05/12/2005  Initial vendor notification
05/12/2005  Initial vendor response
05/25/2005  Public disclosure

IX. CREDIT is credited with the discovery of this

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Copyright (c) 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
email for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.

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