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Sun Microsystems Solaris ld.so 'doprf()' Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



Solaris is a UNIX operating system developed by Sun Microsystems. More information can be found at http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/


Local exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability in ld.so could potentially allow a non root user to execute arbitrary code as root.

ld.so is vulnerable to a buffer overflow in its internal doprf() formatting function. A fixed size stack buffer is used to store the precision padding characters when printing out a numerical format specifier. The vulnerable code was taken from the OpenSolaris source, and is as follows:

 size_t doprf(const char *format, va_list args, Prfbuf *prf) { char c; char *bp = prf->pr_cur; char *bufend = prf->pr_buf + prf->pr_len; size_t bufsiz = prf->pr_len; while ((c = *format++) != '') { if (c != '%') { PUTC(c); } else { int base = 0, flag = 0, width = 0, prec = 0; size_t _i; int _c, _n; char *_s; int ls = 0; * snip * if (base) { 1] char local[20]; const char *string = MSG_ORIG(MSG_STR_HEXNUM); size_t ssize = 0, psize = 0; const char *prefix = MSG_ORIG(MSG_STR_EMPTY); u_longlong_t num; * snip * /* * Convert the numeric value into a local * string (stored in reverse order). */ _s = local; 2] do { *_s++ = string[num % base]; num /= base; ssize++; } while (num); /* * Provide any precision or width padding. */ if (prec) { /* LINTED */ _n = (int)(prec - ssize); 3] while (_n-- > 0) { *_s++ = '0'; ssize++; } } 

1) This is the stack buffer that will later be overflowed.

2) Here the given number is stored into the buffer. There is no chance for an overflow here as the maximum number of digits in a long long int is 20 bytes.

3) However in this loop an attacker can freely overwrite the stack with '0' (0x30) bytes.

This vulnerability would normally not be able to be triggered by a non root user. The doprf() function is only supposed to be passed format strings from a message file owned by root. However, when this vulnerability is combined with the ld.so directory traversal vulnerability any user can pass arbitrary format strings to the doprf() function.


Successful local exploitation allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code as root on the affected host by running a setuid binary.

Exploitation is difficult due to the limited data value with which the buffer can be overflowed. It is necessary to have valid memory mapped at an address with a most significant byte of 0x30, for example 0x30fffff0. In our tests on both x86 and SPARC architectures we were unable to achieve this. With a different memory layout exploitation may be possible. On x86, it also may be possible to overwrite the low byte of a saved frame pointer if the registers are allocated in a different way.


iDefense has confirmed that Solaris 10 for both x86 and SPARC is vulnerable. Older versions of Solaris are likely to be vulnerable as well.


iDefense is unaware of any effective workarounds for this issue.


Sun Microsystems has addressed this problem with new patches. More information can be found in Sun Alert #102724. This alert can be found at: http://sunsolve.sun.com/search/document.do?assetkey=1-26-102724-1


A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not been assigned yet.


10/24/2006 Initial vendor notification
10/27/2006 Initial vendor response
12/12/2006 Coordinated public disclosure


Sean Larsson (iDefense Labs) is credited with the discovery of this vulnerability.

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Copyright © 2006 Verisign, Inc.

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