14.11. FreeBSD Security Advisories

Contributed by Tom Rhodes.

Like many producers of quality operating systems, the FreeBSD Project has a security team which is responsible for determining the End-of-Life (EoL) date for each FreeBSD release and to provide security updates for supported releases which have not yet reached their EoL. More information about the FreeBSD security team and the supported releases is available on the FreeBSD security page.

One task of the security team is to respond to reported security vulnerabilities in the FreeBSD operating system. Once a vulnerability is confirmed, the security team verifies the steps necessary to fix the vulnerability and updates the source code with the fix. It then publishes the details as a Security Advisory. Security advisories are published on the FreeBSD website and mailed to the freebsd-security-notifications, freebsd-security, and freebsd-announce mailing lists.

This section describes the format of a FreeBSD security advisory.

14.11.1. Format of a Security Advisory

Here is an example of a FreeBSD security advisory:

Hash: SHA512

FreeBSD-SA-14:04.bind                                       Security Advisory
                                                          The FreeBSD Project

Topic:          BIND remote denial of service vulnerability

Category:       contrib
Module:         bind
Announced:      2014-01-14
Credits:        ISC
Affects:        FreeBSD 8.x and FreeBSD 9.x
Corrected:      2014-01-14 19:38:37 UTC (stable/9, 9.2-STABLE)
                2014-01-14 19:42:28 UTC (releng/9.2, 9.2-RELEASE-p3)
                2014-01-14 19:42:28 UTC (releng/9.1, 9.1-RELEASE-p10)
                2014-01-14 19:38:37 UTC (stable/8, 8.4-STABLE)
                2014-01-14 19:42:28 UTC (releng/8.4, 8.4-RELEASE-p7)
                2014-01-14 19:42:28 UTC (releng/8.3, 8.3-RELEASE-p14)
CVE Name:       CVE-2014-0591

For general information regarding FreeBSD Security Advisories,
including descriptions of the fields above, security branches, and the
following sections, please visit <URL:http://security.FreeBSD.org/>.

I.   Background

BIND 9 is an implementation of the Domain Name System (DNS) protocols.
The named(8) daemon is an Internet Domain Name Server.

II.  Problem Description

Because of a defect in handling queries for NSEC3-signed zones, BIND can
crash with an "INSIST" failure in name.c when processing queries possessing
certain properties.  This issue only affects authoritative nameservers with
at least one NSEC3-signed zone.  Recursive-only servers are not at risk.

III. Impact

An attacker who can send a specially crafted query could cause named(8)
to crash, resulting in a denial of service.

IV.  Workaround

No workaround is available, but systems not running authoritative DNS service
with at least one NSEC3-signed zone using named(8) are not vulnerable.

V.   Solution

Perform one of the following:

1) Upgrade your vulnerable system to a supported FreeBSD stable or
release / security branch (releng) dated after the correction date.

2) To update your vulnerable system via a source code patch:

The following patches have been verified to apply to the applicable
FreeBSD release branches.

a) Download the relevant patch from the location below, and verify the
detached PGP signature using your PGP utility.

[FreeBSD 8.3, 8.4, 9.1, 9.2-RELEASE and 8.4-STABLE]
# fetch http://security.FreeBSD.org/patches/SA-14:04/bind-release.patch
# fetch http://security.FreeBSD.org/patches/SA-14:04/bind-release.patch.asc
# gpg --verify bind-release.patch.asc

[FreeBSD 9.2-STABLE]
# fetch http://security.FreeBSD.org/patches/SA-14:04/bind-stable-9.patch
# fetch http://security.FreeBSD.org/patches/SA-14:04/bind-stable-9.patch.asc
# gpg --verify bind-stable-9.patch.asc

b) Execute the following commands as root:

# cd /usr/src
# patch < /path/to/patch

Recompile the operating system using buildworld and installworld as
described in <URL:https://www.FreeBSD.org/handbook/makeworld.html>.

Restart the applicable daemons, or reboot the system.

3) To update your vulnerable system via a binary patch:

Systems running a RELEASE version of FreeBSD on the i386 or amd64
platforms can be updated via the freebsd-update(8) utility:

# freebsd-update fetch
# freebsd-update install

VI.  Correction details

The following list contains the correction revision numbers for each
affected branch.

Branch/path                                                      Revision
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
stable/8/                                                         r260646
releng/8.3/                                                       r260647
releng/8.4/                                                       r260647
stable/9/                                                         r260646
releng/9.1/                                                       r260647
releng/9.2/                                                       r260647
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------

To see which files were modified by a particular revision, run the
following command, replacing NNNNNN with the revision number, on a
machine with Subversion installed:

# svn diff -cNNNNNN --summarize svn://svn.freebsd.org/base

Or visit the following URL, replacing NNNNNN with the revision number:


VII. References



The latest revision of this advisory is available at


Every security advisory uses the following format:

  • Each security advisory is signed by the PGP key of the Security Officer. The public key for the Security Officer can be verified at Appendix D, OpenPGP Keys.

  • The name of the security advisory always begins with FreeBSD-SA- (for FreeBSD Security Advisory), followed by the year in two digit format (14:), followed by the advisory number for that year (04.), followed by the name of the affected application or subsystem (bind). The advisory shown here is the fourth advisory for 2014 and it affects BIND.

  • The Topic field summarizes the vulnerability.

  • The Category refers to the affected part of the system which may be one of core, contrib, or ports. The core category means that the vulnerability affects a core component of the FreeBSD operating system. The contrib category means that the vulnerability affects software included with FreeBSD, such as BIND. The ports category indicates that the vulnerability affects software available through the Ports Collection.

  • The Module field refers to the component location. In this example, the bind module is affected; therefore, this vulnerability affects an application installed with the operating system.

  • The Announced field reflects the date the security advisory was published. This means that the security team has verified that the problem exists and that a patch has been committed to the FreeBSD source code repository.

  • The Credits field gives credit to the individual or organization who noticed the vulnerability and reported it.

  • The Affects field explains which releases of FreeBSD are affected by this vulnerability.

  • The Corrected field indicates the date, time, time offset, and releases that were corrected. The section in parentheses shows each branch for which the fix has been merged, and the version number of the corresponding release from that branch. The release identifier itself includes the version number and, if appropriate, the patch level. The patch level is the letter p followed by a number, indicating the sequence number of the patch, allowing users to track which patches have already been applied to the system.

  • The CVE Name field lists the advisory number, if one exists, in the public cve.mitre.org security vulnerabilities database.

  • The Background field provides a description of the affected module.

  • The Problem Description field explains the vulnerability. This can include information about the flawed code and how the utility could be maliciously used.

  • The Impact field describes what type of impact the problem could have on a system.

  • The Workaround field indicates if a workaround is available to system administrators who cannot immediately patch the system .

  • The Solution field provides the instructions for patching the affected system. This is a step by step tested and verified method for getting a system patched and working securely.

  • The Correction Details field displays each affected Subversion branch with the revision number that contains the corrected code.

  • The References field offers sources of additional information regarding the vulnerability.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.