File-name flaw threatens PGP users

Friday, 6 September 2002, 10:57 AM EST

Security-consulting firm Foundstone said that email messages encrypted with the Pretty Good Privacy program can be used as digital bullets to attack and take control of a victim's computer.

Because of a flaw in the way PGP handles long file names in an encrypted archive, an attacker could "take control of the recipient's computer, elevating his or her privileges on the organisation's network," Foundstone said in an advisory.

The company classified the vulnerability as a high risk "due to the trusting nature of encrypted attachments in email, its relative ease of exploitation and the large amount of corporations and military and government agencies that rely on PGP encryption for secure communication."

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