Rapid7 Vulnerability & Exploit Database

SUSE-SA:2002:037: Heartbeat

Free InsightVM Trial No credit card necessary
Watch Demo See how it all works
Back to Search

SUSE-SA:2002:037: Heartbeat



Heartbeat is a monitoring service that is used to implement failover in high-availablity environments. It can be configured to monitor other systems via serial connections, or via UDP/IP.

Several format string bugs have been discovered in the heartbeat package. One of these format string bugs is in the normal path of execution, all the remaining ones can only be triggered if heartbeat is running in debug mode. Since heartbeat is running with root privilege, this problem can possibly be exploited by remote attackers, provided they are able to send packets to the UDP port heartbeat is listening on (port 694 by default).

Vulnerable versions of heartbeat are included in SUSE LINUX 8.0 and SUSE LINUX 8.1.

As a workaround, make sure that your firewall blocks all traffic to the heartbeat UDP port.

The proper fix is to upgrade to the packages provided by SUSE. In addition to fixing the format string bug, this update also changes heartbeat to perform processing of network packets as user "nobody" instead of root. The update package for SUSE LINUX 8.1 also fixes a boot time problem with heartbeat.

SUSE wishes to thank Nathan Wallwork for reporting the bug, and Alan Robertson for his assistance in dealing with this problem. For more information on this vulnerability, please refer to http://linux-ha.org/security/sec01.html

Please download the update package for your distribution and verify its integrity by the methods listed in section 3) of this announcement. Then, install the package using the command "rpm -Fhv file.rpm" to apply the update.


With Rapid7 live dashboards, I have a clear view of all the assets on my network, which ones can be exploited, and what I need to do in order to reduce the risk in my environment in real-time. No other tool gives us that kind of value and insight.

– Scott Cheney, Manager of Information Security, Sierra View Medical Center