Debian/Ubuntu Linux: Find If Installed APT Package Includes a Fix/Patch Via CVE Number

I am a Debian Linux server user. How do I view the changelog of an installed package and find out if given CVE includes a fix or patch? How do I see a fix or patch already applied to installed package on a Ubuntu or Debian LTS server?

The changelog of an installed package is usaully stored as follows on a Debian or Ubuntu or Mint Linux:[donotprint]
Tutorial details
Difficulty Easy (rss)
Root privileges Yes
Requirements None
Time 1m
  1. Directory: /usr/share/doc/$PackageNameHere/
  2. Changelog file name: changelog.Debian.gz

You can use the less or zgrep command to view /usr/share/doc/<PackageNameHere>/changelog.Debian.gz file.


You need to replace <PackageNameHere> with the actual package name:

less /usr/share/doc/<PackageNameHere>/changelog.Debian.gz
zgrep 'cve-number-here' /usr/share/doc/<PackageNameHere>/changelog.Debian.gz

Examples: Find lighttpd package change log

In this example view info about a package called lighttpd, enter:

less /usr/share/doc/lighttpd/changelog.Debian.gz

Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Debian / Ubuntu Linux See The Changelog Of an Installed Package

Example: See if lighttpd package includes a fix/patch for cve # cve-2013-4559

To find out if installed package called lighttpd includes a fix or patch, enter:

$ zgrep -i cve-2013-4559 /usr/share/doc/lighttpd/changelog.Debian.gz
  * Fix cve-2013-4559: setuid privilege escalation issue.

To display all cve, enter:

$ zgrep -i cve /usr/share/doc/lighttpd/changelog.Debian.gz
  * Fix regression caused by the fix for cve-2013-4508 (closes: #729480).
  * Fix cve-2013-4508: ssl cipher suites issue.
  * Fix cve-2013-4559: setuid privilege escalation issue.
  * Fix cve-2013-4560: use-after-free in fam.
  * CVE-2013-1427: Switch the socket path for PHP when using FastCGI. /tmp is
    - CVE-2013-1427: Switch the socket path for PHP when using FASTCGI. /tmp 

Say hello to debsecan

debsecan analyzes the list of installed packages on the current host and reports vulnerabilities found on the system.


Use the apt command/apt-get command to install it:
$ sudo apt install debsecan
Sample outputs:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
  exim4 exim4-base exim4-config exim4-daemon-light s-nail
Suggested packages:
  eximon4 exim4-doc-html | exim4-doc-info spf-tools-perl swaks
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  debsecan exim4 exim4-base exim4-config exim4-daemon-light s-nail
0 upgraded, 6 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 2,026 kB of archives.
After this operation, 4,653 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
Get:1 xenial/universe amd64 debsecan all 0.4.18 [33.9 kB]
Get:2 xenial-updates/main amd64 exim4-config all 4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2 [298 kB]
Get:3 xenial-updates/main amd64 exim4-base amd64 4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2 [869 kB]
Get:4 xenial-updates/main amd64 exim4-daemon-light amd64 4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2 [465 kB]
Get:5 xenial-updates/main amd64 exim4 all 4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2 [7,904 B]
Get:6 xenial/universe amd64 s-nail amd64 14.8.6-1 [353 kB]
Fetched 2,026 kB in 0s (2,406 kB/s)
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously unselected package debsecan.
(Reading database ... 144268 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../debsecan_0.4.18_all.deb ...
Unpacking debsecan (0.4.18) ...
Selecting previously unselected package exim4-config.
Preparing to unpack .../exim4-config_4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2_all.deb ...
Unpacking exim4-config (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
Selecting previously unselected package exim4-base.
Preparing to unpack .../exim4-base_4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking exim4-base (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
Selecting previously unselected package exim4-daemon-light.
Preparing to unpack .../exim4-daemon-light_4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking exim4-daemon-light (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
Selecting previously unselected package exim4.
Preparing to unpack .../exim4_4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2_all.deb ...
Unpacking exim4 (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
Selecting previously unselected package s-nail.
Preparing to unpack .../s-nail_14.8.6-1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking s-nail (14.8.6-1) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.7.5-1) ...
Processing triggers for systemd (229-4ubuntu17) ...
Processing triggers for ureadahead (0.100.0-19) ...
Setting up debsecan (0.4.18) ...
Setting up exim4-config (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
Adding system-user for exim (v4)
Setting up exim4-base (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
exim: DB upgrade, deleting hints-db
Setting up exim4-daemon-light (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
Setting up exim4 (4.86.2-2ubuntu2.2) ...
Setting up s-nail (14.8.6-1) ...
update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/s-nail to provide /usr/bin/mailx (mailx) in auto mode
Processing triggers for systemd (229-4ubuntu17) ...
Processing triggers for ureadahead (0.100.0-19) ...


Just run it as follows:
$ debsecan | more
Sample outputs:

CVE-2016-2775 bind9-host (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-2776 bind9-host (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2016-6170 bind9-host (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-8864 bind9-host (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-9131 bind9-host (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-9147 bind9-host (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-9444 bind9-host (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2017-3135 bind9-host
CVE-2017-3136 bind9-host
CVE-2017-3137 bind9-host
CVE-2017-3138 bind9-host
CVE-2016-9243 python3-cryptography (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-1248 vim-tiny (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2017-5953 vim-tiny (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2017-6349 vim-tiny (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2017-6350 vim-tiny (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2015-1331 liblxc1 (medium urgency)
CVE-2015-1334 liblxc1 (medium urgency)
CVE-2015-1335 liblxc1 (high urgency)
CVE-2016-10124 liblxc1 (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-8649 liblxc1 (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2016-10228 locales (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-6323 locales (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2017-1000366 locales
CVE-2017-8804 locales (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2017-6507 libapparmor-perl (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-2324 git (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2017-8386 git (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2017-6594 libheimntlm0-heimdal
CVE-2016-7942 libx11-data (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2016-7943 libx11-data (remotely exploitable, high urgency)
CVE-2015-8948 libidn11 (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-6261 libidn11 (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-6263 libidn11 (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2016-1233 fuse (high urgency)
CVE-2016-2568 libpolkit-gobject-1-0 (medium urgency)
TEMP-0000000-4DA0A8 libdbus-1-3
CVE-2016-2779 util-linux (high urgency)
CVE-2016-5011 util-linux (medium urgency)
CVE-2017-6964 eject (high urgency)
CVE-2016-2779 libsmartcols1 (high urgency)
CVE-2016-5011 libsmartcols1 (medium urgency)

You can use the grep command to search for any package name or CVE as follows:
$ debsecan | grep -i openvpn
Sample outputs:

CVE-2017-7478 openvpn (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2017-7479 openvpn (remotely exploitable, medium urgency)
CVE-2017-7508 openvpn
CVE-2017-7520 openvpn
CVE-2017-7521 openvpn

Or search for CVE-2017-1000364
$ debsecan | grep -i CVE-2017-1000364
Sample outputs:

CVE-2017-1000364 linux-image-4.4.0-79-generic
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-79
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-79-generic
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-81-generic
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-78
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-81
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-78-generic
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-63
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-image-4.4.0-78-generic
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-headers-4.4.0-63-generic
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-image-4.4.0-63-generic
CVE-2017-1000364 linux-image-4.4.0-81-generic

A note about Debian security tracker

You can always use web based security tracker located at the following url:

  2. See security history of openvpn package.

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🐧 2 comments so far... add one

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2 comments… add one
  • Gabriel Serlenga May 4, 2015 @ 19:21

    Under Debian 8/Jessie, ‘less’ by default cannot page compressed files like the .gzipped’ Debian changelogs.

    To get ‘less’ to page compressed files in addition to non-compressed files, you can uncomment this line in the default ~/.bashrc under Debian 8 (assuming you are using bash):

    # make less more friendly for non-text input files, see lesspipe(1)
    #[ -x /usr/bin/lesspipe ] && eval "$(SHELL=/bin/sh lesspipe)"

    Or, you can also use ‘zless’ instead, which is a wrapper script for ‘less’ which allows it to page compressed files.

  • Paul May 27, 2015 @ 0:22

    This is a great tip, but I (perhaps irrationally) hate relying on the Changelog. You could also just hit (and don’t forget the absolutely fantastic debsecan :)

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