Public Vulnerability Reports

Ipswitch Collaboration Suite IMAP EXAMINE Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



Ipswitch Collaboration Suite (ICS) is a comprehensive communication and
collaboration solution for Microsoft Windows with a customer base of
over 53 million users. More information is available on the vendor's


Exploitation of a remote buffer overflow within the IMAP daemon of
Ipswitch Collaboration Suite allows attackers to execute arbitrary code
with administrator privileges.

The vulnerability specifically exists due to insufficient handling of
overly long arguments passed to the EXAMINE handler function. The
EXAMINE command selects a mailbox so that messages within the mailbox
may be accessed with read-only privileges. EXAMINE requests with
malformed mailbox names of 259 bytes will overwrite the saved stack
frame pointer, resulting in potential process execution control. It
should be noted that IMAP will append a '/' character to your supplied
mailbox name so the most significant byte of the frame pointer will be
0x2e. The output below shows successful control of the frame pointer.

(668.f8): Access violation - code c0000005 (first chance)
First chance exceptions are reported before any exception handling.
This exception may be expected and handled.

eax=00000006 ebx=008943b0 ecx=42424242
edx=00c8fad4 esi=008943b0 edi=00000013
eip=0078626d esp=00c9fd20 ebp=2e434343
iopl=0         nv up ei pl zr na po nc
cs=001b ss=0023 ds=0023 es=0023
fs=0038 gs=0000 efl=00000246
0078626d ??               ???

Frame pointer overwrites may allow attackers to redirect program flow
when the current function returns. It should be noted that the IMAP
EXAMINE command is only available after successful authentication.


Successful exploitation allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary
code under administrator privileges. The EXAMINE IMAP command is only
valid after authentication has occurred, however due to the nature of
IMAP servers serving a large user base, this requirement only slightly
reduces exposure to the vulnerability.


iDEFENSE has confirmed that the IMAP4 daemon (IMAP4d32.exe ver. shipping with IMail Server version 8.13 is vulnerable.
IMail Server is now packaged as part of Ipswitch Collaboration Suite.
It is suspected that earlier versions are vulnerable as well.


Use application level content filtering on overly long IMAP commands.


This vulnerability is addressed in IMail Server 8.15 Hotfix 1 (February
3, 2005), which is available for download at:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-0707 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


03/02/2005   Initial vendor notification
03/08/2005   Initial vendor response
03/10/2005   Public disclosure


Nico Steinhardt is credited with this discovery.

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Copyright © 2005 Verisign, Inc.

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