Public Vulnerability Reports

Novell eDirectory LDAP Search Request Heap Corruption Vulnerability



Novell eDirectory is cross-platform directory server that implements the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). The search request is used to search a directory tree for objects that match a search filter. For more information, see the vendor's site found at the following URL.


Remote exploitation of a heap buffer overflow vulnerability in Novell Inc.'s eDirectory could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the affected service.

The vulnerability exists due to an incorrect calculation when allocating a heap buffer to store the search parameters. By passing NULL search parameters, it is possible to overflow a heap based buffer with the string "(null)". This can result in the corruption of heap management structures, and depending on the layout of the heap, possibly function pointers.


Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary code with the privileges of the affected service, usually root. Since the data that overflows the buffer is not controlled by the attacker, exploitation is non-trivial.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in eDirectory version 8.8 SP2 for Linux. Other versions may also be affected.


It is possible to disable the LDAP service from running via the ndsmodules.conf file which is usually located in /etc/opt/novell/eDirectory/conf. However, doing so greatly reduces the functionality of this software.


Novell Inc. has addressed this vulnerability with the release of FTF2 for eDirectory 8.8 SP2 (8.8.2) and SP10b for eDirectory 8.7.3. For more information visit the following URL.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2008-1809 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


03/10/2008 Initial vendor notification
03/13/2008 Initial vendor response
07/09/2008 Coordinated public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright © 2008 Verisign, Inc.

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