Public Vulnerability Reports

Multiple Vendor xpdf StreamPredictor Heap Overflow Vulnerability



Xpdf is an open-source viewer for Portable Document Format (PDF) files.


Local exploitation of a heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability in
xpdf, as included by various vendor's software distributions, could
allow attackers to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition,
potentially resulting in arbitrary code execution.

The vulnerability specifically exists due to insufficient input
validation in the Predictor stream parsing code. The
StreamPredictor::StreamPredictor function from xpdf/ takes the
value of numComps from user-controllable data from within the PDF file.
The numComps value is used in a series of calcualations within the
StreamPredictor function. Using specially crafted values, a call to
gmalloc can be forced to allocate the minimum number of bytes, which
may later be overrun with user-supplied data from the PDF file leading
to corruption of heap memory that might result in a DoS condition or
arbitrary code execution.


Exploitation could result in arbitrary code execution with privileges
of the xpdf process. Currently, exploitation resulting in code
execution is theoretical and dependant on the process memory layout. A
typical exploitation attempt would require an attacker to supply a
malicious pdf to the victim. The victim would need to open the corrupt
pdf file in xpdf. Only then would the vulnerability be triggered.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in xpdf
3.01. All earlier versions of xpdf are suspected vulnerable.

The following vendors include susceptible xpdf packages within their
operating system distributions:

    The Debian Project: Linux 3.0 and 3.1


iDefense is currently unaware of any effective workarounds for this


A patch for this vulnerability is available at:

Updated binaries (version 3.01pl1) are available at:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-3192 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


10/13/2005   Initial vendor notification
10/19/2005   Initial vendor response
12/05/2005   Coordinated public disclosure


iDefense credits with the discovery of this

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Copyright © 2005 Verisign, Inc.

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