fetchmail-SA-2006-02.txt [plain text]
fetchmail-SA-2006-02: TLS enforcement problem/MITM attack/password exposure
Topics: fetchmail cannot enforce TLS
Author: Matthias Andree
Type: secret information disclosure
Impact: fetchmail can expose cleartext password over unsecure link
fetchmail may not detect man in the middle attacks
Credits: Isaac Wilcox (bug report, testing, collaboration on fix)
CVE Name: CVE-2006-5867
Project URL: http://fetchmail.berlios.de/
Affects: fetchmail releases <= 6.3.5
fetchmail release candidates 6.3.6-rc1, -rc2, -rc3
Not affected: fetchmail release candidates 6.3.6-rc4, -rc5
fetchmail release 6.3.6
fetchmail release 6.3.7
Corrected: 2006-11-26 fetchmail 6.3.6-rc4
0. Release history
2006-11-16 v0.01 internal review draft
2006-11-26 v0.02 revise failure cases, workaround, add acknowledgments
2006-11-27 v0.03 add more vulnerabilities
2007-01-04 v1.0 ready for release
2007-02-18 v1.1 mention 6.3.7 that fixes two regressions
fetchmail is a software package to retrieve mail from remote POP2, POP3,
IMAP, ETRN or ODMR servers and forward it to local SMTP, LMTP servers or
message delivery agents.
fetchmail ships with a graphical, Python/Tkinter based configuration
utility named "fetchmailconf" to help the user create configuration (run
control) files for fetchmail.
2. Problem description and Impact
Fetchmail has had several nasty password disclosure vulnerabilities for
a long time. It was only recently that these have been found.
V1. sslcertck/sslfingerprint options should have implied "sslproto tls1"
in order to enforce TLS negotiation, but did not.
V2. Even with "sslproto tls1" in the config, fetches would go ahead
in plain text if STLS/STARTTLS wasn't available (not advertised,
or advertised but rejected).
V3. POP3 fetches could completely ignore all TLS options whether
available or not because it didn't reliably issue CAPA before
checking for STLS support - but CAPA is a requisite for STLS.
Whether or not CAPAbilities were probed, depended on the "auth"
option. (Fetchmail only tried CAPA if the auth option was not set at
all, was set to gssapi, kerberos, kerberos_v4, otp, or cram-md5.)
V4. POP3 could fall back to using plain text passwords, even if strong
authentication had been configured.
V5. POP2 would not complain if strong authentication or TLS had been
This can cause eavesdroppers to obtain the password, depending on the
authentication scheme that is configured or auto-selected, and
subsequently impersonate somebody else when logging into the upstream
If your upstream offers SSLv3-wrapped service on a dedicated port,
use fetchmail --ssl --sslcertck --sslproto ssl3 on the command line,
or equivalent in the run control file. This encrypts the whole session.
The earlier recommendation to install 6.3.6 is hereby updated, since
version 6.3.6 introduced two new regressions fixed in 6.3.7: one broke
KPOP altogether and one broke the automatic POP3 retries without TLS
if a server advertised TLS but then closed the connection and TLS
Download and install fetchmail 6.3.7 or a newer stable release from
fetchmail's project site at
Isaac Wilcox has been a great help with testing the fixes and getting
A. Copyright, License and Warranty
(C) Copyright 2007 by Matthias Andree, <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Some rights reserved.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs German License. To view a copy of
this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/de/
or send a letter to Creative Commons; 559 Nathan Abbott Way;
Stanford, California 94305; USA.
THIS WORK IS PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE AND WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES.
Use the information herein at your own risk.
END OF fetchmail-SA-2006-02.txt