Type packetstorm
Reporter Packet Storm
Modified 1999-08-17T00:00:00


                                            `Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 22:21:30 +1000  
From: Andrew Tridgell <>  
Subject: rsync 2.3.1 release - security fix  
I discovered a security hole in rsync yesterday and have released  
rsync 2.3.1 to fix it.  
The new version and patches against the last version are available at or  
The problem happened when all of these conditions held true:  
1) the source file list contains exactly one filename and that  
is the name of an empty directory  
2) the source directory name is specified on the command line  
as "somedir/" or "somedir/." or "." not as "somedir"  
3) the destination directory doesn't exist  
4) you have recursion and permission transfer enabled (the -a option  
will do this)  
5) the working directory of the receiving process is not the  
destination directory (this happens when you do remote rsync  
(the short summary is that you need to be transferring an empty  
directory into a non-existent directory)  
In that case (which is quite rare) the permissions from the empty  
directory in the source file list were set on the working directory of  
the receiving process. In the case of a remote rsync over rsh or ssh  
this means that the permissions on your home directory are changed to  
those of the empty directory you are transferring.  
This is a serious bug (and security hole) as it may change your home  
directory permissions to allow other users access to your files. A  
user can't exploit this hole deliberately to gain privileges (ie. this  
is not an "active" security hole) but a system administrator could  
easily be caught by the bug and inadvertently compromise the security  
of their system.  
To see if you have been hit by this bug you should look at the  
permissions on your home directory. If they are not what you expect  
then perhaps you have been bitten by this bug.  
The fix is to chmod your home directory back to the correct  
permissions and upgrade to rsync 2.3.1. The bug is in the receiving  
side of rsync, so it is quite safe to continue to use older anonymous  
rsync servers as long as you upgrade your client.  
This bug has been present in all versions of rsync. I apologize for  
any inconvenience.