Public Vulnerability Reports

SAP MaxDB dbmsrv Untrusted Execution Path Vulnerability



SAP's MaxDB is a database software product. MaxDB was released as open source from version 7.5 up to version 7.6.00. Later versions are no longer open source but are available for download from the SAP SDN website ( as a community edition with free community support for public use beyond the scope of SAP applications. The "dbmsrv" program is set-uid "sdb", set-gid "sdba", and installed by default. For more information, visit the product's website at the following URL.


Local exploitation of an untrusted path vulnerability in the "dbmsrv" program, as distributed with SAP AG's MaxDB, allow attackers to elevate privileges to that of the "sdb" user.

When a local user runs the "dbmcli" program, the MaxDB executes a "dbmsrv" process on the user's behalf. The "dbmsrv" process, which is responsible for executing user commands, runs as the user "sdb" with group "sdba".

This vulnerability exists due to improper sanitization of the "PATH" environment variable. By prefixing the "PATH" environment variable with a path under the attacker control, one is able to execute arbitrary code with "sdb:sdba" privileges.


Exploitation allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code with privileges of the database owner, usually "sdb". To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker must have the ability to create executables on the system.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in SAP MaxDB version on Linux. Other versions may also be vulnerable.


iDefense is currently unaware of any workaround for this issue.


SAP AG has addressed this vulnerability by releasing a new version of MaxDB. For more information, consult SAP note 1178438.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2008-1810 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


03/27/2008 Initial vendor notification
04/01/2008 Initial vendor response
07/30/2008 Coordinated public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

Get paid for vulnerability research

Free tools, research and upcoming events


Copyright © 2008 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.