On Friday, Oct. 30th, IBM-ERS sent out a draft advisory to be released on
Monday, Nov. 2nd that described a buffer overflow condition in Version
1.2.x "sshd." This draft was sent to the Forum of Incident Response and
Security Teams, and also to the "ssh-bugs" list for their comment/review.
The draft was identified as ERS-SVA-E01-1998:005.1.
Rootshell has unfortunately chosen to include a copy of this draft advisory
in their recent newsletter, apparently for the purposes of defending itself
against charges that it was unfairly disparaging "sshd." Use of IBM-ERS's
draft advisory in this manner was not approved or authorized by IBM-ERS,
and does a disservice to all.
Here are the facts about this advisory:
1. IBM-ERS advisory ERS-SVA-E01-1998:005.1 was never issued publicly by
2. In response to a telephone query from Kit Knox of Rootshell, IBM-ERS
attempted to contact Kit on Friday evening, and was unable to reach
him. Specific contact information for IBM-ERS, as well as a brief
status update, were left on Mr. Knox's voice mail. Mr. Knox never
contacted IBM-ERS after that time.
3. IBM has been working closely with Tatu Ylonen, author of "ssh," to make
sure that the potential vulnerability described in the advisory is not
exploitable. Upon further investigation, the problem originally
described appears to have been influenced by outside factors and does
not appear to be an exploitable problem in "sshd."
4. IBM-ERS advisory ERS-SVA-E01-1998:005.1 was CANCELLED on the morning
of Sunday, Nov. 1st, *before* Mr. Knox issued his newsletter.
5. At this time, IBM-ERS has NO KNOWLEDGE of any security vulnerabilities,
exploitable or otherwise, in the "sshd" program.
We hope that this clarifies IBM's involvement in this situation.
The information in this document is provided as a service to customers of
the IBM Emergency Response Service. Neither International Business Machines
Corporation, nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, express or implied,
or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, complete-
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