Public Vulnerability Reports

ESRI ArcSDE Numeric Literal Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



ESRI Inc. ArcSDE is a multi-user database server bundled with ArcGIS to provide access to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). More information is available at the following URL.


Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability within Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Inc.'s ArcSDE service allows attackers to crash the service or potentially execute arbitrary code.

This vulnerability specifically exists due to insufficient buffer space when representing user-supplied numeric values in ASCII. Certain requests result in an sprintf() call using a static-sized 8 byte stack buffer. If an attacker supplies a number that's ASCII value cannot be represented within 8 bytes, a stack-based buffer overflow occurs.


Exploitation allows attackers to crash the service, or potentially execute arbitrary code.

Since an attacker can only overflow the buffer with numeric values and a single NUL byte, the execution of arbitrary may not be possible. Denial of service is definitely possible.

No authentication is required to exploit this vulnerability. Exploitation requires that attacker be able to communicate with the server via the TCP port on which it is listening. By default the server listens on port 5151.


The vendor has confirmed that version 9.2 of ArcSDE, as bundled with ArcGIS, is vulnerable to this attack. All versions are suspected to be vulnerable.


Employing firewalls to limit access to the affected service can help prevent potential exploitation of this vulnerability.


ESRI has addressed this vulnerability by releasing ArcSDE 9.2 Service Pack 3. More information is available from their Service Pack 3 release notes at the following URL.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2007-4278 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


05/14/2007 Initial vendor notification
05/14/2007 Initial vendor response
08/15/2007 Coordinated public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

Get paid for vulnerability research

Free tools, research and upcoming events


Copyright © 2007 Verisign, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express written consent of iDefense. If you wish to reprint the whole or any part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please e-mail customer service for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this information.