CVS exploit leads to project server compromise

Tuesday, 1 June 2004, 6:21 AM EST

Users of Concurrent Versions System (CVS) software are being urged to patch their systems against an exploit used to hack the project's web site. CVS is a source code maintenance system used by many open source development projects, raising the prospect that the exploit may be used to spread compromised code to developers and end-users who download files from hacked servers.

That risk prompted an alert Friday from US-CERT, the agency coordinating U.S. cybersecurity awareness. The vulnerability in CVS, which allows a buffer overflow, was discovered May 2 by Stefan Esser of e-matters and made public, along with a patch, on May 19. While technically a "local" security hole that can only be exploited by authenticated users, most public CVS servers allow anonymous logins over the Internet. e-matters also identified a security hole in Subversion, a successor to CVS.

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