Public Vulnerability Reports

Novell ZENworks Endpoint Security Management Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability



Novell ZENworks Endpoint Security Management (ESM) Security Client provides centrally managed, policy based firewall protection for clients. It is designed to be installed on all workstations within the enterprise. More information is available on the vendor's site at the following URL.


Local exploitation of a privilege escalation vulnerability in Novell ZENworks Endpoint Security Management allows attackers to execute arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges.

When the ZENworks ESM Security Client is installed on a workstation, the STEngine service is set to run under the local SYSTEM account. This service is implemented within the following executable.

 File Name: STEngine.exe (1,847,296 bytes) Version: MD5: B5402A1EC8D04130304EBA89AF843916 

The service provides functionality for any user to generate a diagnostic report in order to aid in product troubleshooting. During report generation, STEngine attempts to execute various scripts by spawning command shells to gather system information. These scripts are dynamically generated in a directory which all users may write to.

STEngine will also attempt to locate a command shell in this directory and execute it if it is found. If a malicious local user places a binary named "cmd.exe" in this directory, STEngine will execute it with SYSTEM level privileges.


Exploitation allows unprivileged local users to take complete control of the affected system.

Exploitation is trivial and does not require any special tools or coding ability. If an attacker desires an interactive command prompt, a small wrapper application will be required in order to ensure that the command window is visible after execution.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in STEngine.exe version as included with Novell Inc's ZENworks Endpoint Security Management 3.5. Other versions may also be affected.


iDefense is unaware of any effective workaround for this issue.


Novell has addressed this vulnerability by releasing version of Endpoint Security Management. To download this new version, visit the following URL.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2007-5665 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


09/24/2007 Initial vendor notification
09/25/2007 Initial vendor response
12/24/2007 Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by Stephen Fewer of Harmony Security (

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