Debian DLA-114-1 : heirloom-mailx security update

high Nessus Plugin ID 82098


The remote Debian host is missing a security update.


Two security vulnerabilities were discovered in Heirloom mailx, an implementation of the 'mail' command :


mailx interprets interprets shell meta-characters in certain email addresses.


An unexpected feature of mailx treats syntactically valid email addresses as shell commands to execute.

Shell command execution can be re-enabled using the 'expandaddr' option.

Note that this security update does not remove all mailx facilities for command execution, though. Scripts which send mail to addresses obtained from an untrusted source (such as a web form) should use the '--' separator before the email addresses (which was fixed to work properly in this update), or they should be changed to invoke 'mail
-t' or 'sendmail -i -t' instead, passing the recipient addresses as part of the mail header.

For the oldstable distribution (squeeze), these problems have been fixed in version 12.4-2+deb6u1.

We recommend that you upgrade your heirloom-mailx packages.

NOTE: Tenable Network Security has extracted the preceding description block directly from the DLA security advisory. Tenable has attempted to automatically clean and format it as much as possible without introducing additional issues.


Upgrade the affected heirloom-mailx package.

See Also

Plugin Details

Severity: High

ID: 82098

File Name: debian_DLA-114.nasl

Version: 1.8

Type: local

Agent: unix

Published: 3/26/2015

Updated: 1/11/2021

Supported Sensors: Frictionless Assessment Agent, Nessus Agent

Risk Information


Risk Factor: Medium

Score: 5.9


Risk Factor: High

Base Score: 7.5

Temporal Score: 5.5

Vector: AV:N/AC:L/Au:N/C:P/I:P/A:P

Temporal Vector: E:U/RL:OF/RC:C


Risk Factor: High

Base Score: 7.8

Temporal Score: 6.8

Vector: CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H

Temporal Vector: E:U/RL:O/RC:C

Vulnerability Information

CPE: p-cpe:/a:debian:debian_linux:heirloom-mailx, cpe:/o:debian:debian_linux:6.0

Required KB Items: Host/local_checks_enabled, Host/Debian/release, Host/Debian/dpkg-l

Exploit Ease: No known exploits are available

Patch Publication Date: 12/17/2014

Vulnerability Publication Date: 12/24/2014

Reference Information

CVE: CVE-2004-2771, CVE-2014-7844

BID: 71701, 71704