Girlfriend Discovers a DoS Vulnerability in Gaim

It will probably be hard for you to believe, but my girlfriend discovered a DoS vulnerability in Gaim. No, don’t worry. She is not a computer geek (One in a relationship is certainly enough). The story of my girlfriend’s important discovery goes like this:

I was chatting with her some days ago using Gaim (she uses MS Messenger). At some point, she had sent me the following attack vector:

:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(

As she deeply disliked something I had said to her …

Gaim replaced each “:(” with a sad animated 🙁 emoticon. From a mysterious reason, a few dozens of sad emoticons made Gaim choke. CPU usage was at 100% and the system felt highly unresponsive. It was impossible to use Gaim at all.

Luckily, I was able to kill Gaim from the command-line. I started it again hoping for the best, however, when I opened the chat window again, the attack vector was still there (retrieved from the logs) and Gaim choked yet again. I had to manually remove the few last lines from the log files, so I’ll be able to speak with her again.

To make a long story short, my girlfriend is now happy again.

Note: This episode of Thesamet.com was recorded 10 days ago, when Gaim developers were notified of this.

Clarification: For some reason, some people consider this to be a chauvinistic post. My girlfriend is a very intelligent person, she is not interested in software security. We were both surprised that she unintentionally discovered this. That’s it.

P.S.: The first paragraph of this post was written by her. She said it will help it to “do well on digg”.

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