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warning message out-of-buffer read

Project curl Security Advisory, October 31st 2018 - Permalink


curl contains a heap out of buffer read vulnerability.

The command line tool has a generic function for displaying warning and informational messages to stderr for various situations. For example if an unknown command line argument is used, or passed to it in a "config" file.

This display function formats the output to wrap at 80 columns. The wrap logic is however flawed, so if a single word in the message is itself longer than 80 bytes the buffer arithmetic calculates the remainder wrong and ends up reading behind the end of the buffer. This could lead to information disclosure or crash.

This vulnerability could lead to a security issue if used in this or similar situations:

  1. a server somewhere uses the curl command line to run something
  2. if it fails, it shows stderr to the user
  3. the server takes user input for parts of its command line input
  4. user provides something overly long that triggers this crash
  5. the stderr output may now contain user memory contents that was not meant to be available


This flaw exists in the command line tool only, not in libcurl.

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2018-16842 to this issue.

CWE-125: Out-of-bounds Read

Severity: Low


curl is used by many applications, but not always advertised as such.



We suggest you take one of the following actions immediately, in order of preference:

A - Upgrade curl to version 7.62.0

B - Apply the patch to your version and rebuild


It was reported to the curl project on October 27, 2018. We contacted distros@openwall on October 28.

curl 7.62.0 was released on October 31 2018, coordinated with the publication of this advisory.


Thanks a lot!