CERT® Advisory CA-1993-11 UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ VulnerabilitiesOriginal issue date: August 9, 1993
Last revised: September 19, 1997
Attached copyright statement
A complete revision history is at the end of this file.
The CERT Coordination Center has received information concerning
vulnerabilities in versions of the UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ server and
client available before August 6, 1993. Vulnerable versions were available on
We strongly recommend that any site using versions of UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ dated prior to August 6, 1993 (including version 1.12, 1.12s, 2.0+, 2.03, and all earlier versions) immediately take corrective action.
If you have further questions regarding UMN UNIX gopher or gopher+ software, send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Several vulnerabilities have been identified in UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ when configured as a server or public access client.
Intruders are known to have exploited these vulnerabilities to obtain password files. Other actions may also have been taken by intruders exploiting these vulnerabilities. CERT has already contacted those sites currently known to have been victims of these activities. However, sites may want to check for weak passwords, or consider changing passwords, after installing the new gopher software.
Anyone (remote or local) can potentially gain unrestricted access to the account running the public access client, thereby permitting them to read any files accessible to this account (possibly including /etc/passwd or other sensitive files).
In certain configurations, anyone (remote or local) can potentially gain access to any account, including root, on a host configured as a server running gopherd.
Affected sites should consider disabling gopherd service and public gopher logins until they have installed the new software.
New versions of the UMN UNIX gopher and gopher+ software have been released that provide bug fixes and correct these security problems. Sites can obtain these new versions via anonymous FTP from boombox.micro.umn.edu (126.96.36.199). The files are located in:
Filename Size Checksum -------- ------ ----------- Gopher: /pub/gopher/Unix/gopher1.12S.tar.Z 306872 46311 300 Gopher+: /pub/gopher/Unix/gopher2.04.tar.Z 294872 29411 288
The CERT Coordination Center wishes to thank Matt Schroth, Williams College, and others for informing us of these vulnerabilities. We would also like to thank Paul Lindner, University of Minnesota, for his quick response to these problems.
This document is available from: http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-1993-11.html
CERT/CC Contact Information
Phone: +1 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline)
Fax: +1 412-268-6989
CERT/CC personnel answer the hotline 08:00-17:00 EST(GMT-5) / EDT(GMT-4) Monday through Friday; they are on call for emergencies during other hours, on U.S. holidays, and on weekends.
We strongly urge you to encrypt sensitive information sent by email. Our public PGP key is available from
If you prefer to use DES, please call the CERT hotline for more information.
Getting security information
CERT publications and other security information are available from our web site
* "CERT" and "CERT Coordination Center" are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Conditions for use, disclaimers, and sponsorship information
Copyright 1993 Carnegie Mellon University.
September 19,1997 Attached Copyright Statement