Public Vulnerability Reports

Computer Associates License Client and Server Invalid Command Buffer Overflow



The Computer Associates License Client/Server applications provide a
method for CA products to register their licenses on the network. The
License Client and Server are distributed with almost all CA software
distributions. More information about Computer Associates software
products is available from:


Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability in Computer
Associates International Inc. License Server and License Client can
allow attackers to execute arbitrary code.

The vulnerability specifically exists because of insufficient bounds
checking on user-supplied values in requests with an invalid format.
When a packet containing an overly long string which is not a valid
command is received, the server uses that string to generate a log
message without checking if the buffer that the message is being stored
in is large  enough. By sending a string over 2100 bytes long, it is
possible to  overwrite the saved instruction pointer, allowing execution
of arbitrary code.


Exploitation allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code under the
privileges of Local System (on Windows platforms) or root (on Linux
platforms). The CA License Server does not run by default, but is
packaged with most Computer Associates software distributions. The CA
License Client does run by default and is packaged with almost all CA


iDEFENSE has confirmed that CA License Server and CA License
Client are vulnerable. It is suspected that most CA products
are running vulnerable versions of the client and/or server.


Use a firewall to only allow trusted hosts to connect to the Computer
Associates License Server and Client ports.


A vendor advisory for this issue is available at:

Patches for this issue are available at:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-0581 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems. This is one of several overflows that have been
assigned CAN-2005-0581.


02/08/2005   Initial vendor notification
02/09/2005   Initial vendor response
03/02/2005   Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was discovered by Greg MacManus, iDEFENSE Labs.

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Copyright © 2005 Verisign, Inc.

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