Public Vulnerability Reports

QNX Neutrino RTOS libAp ABLPATH Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



QNX Software Systems Ltd.'s Neutrino RTOS (QNX) is a real-time operating
system designed for use in embedded systems. More information is
available at:


Local exploitation of a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability in
QNX Inc.'s Neutrino RTOS Operating System allows local attackers to
gain root privileges.

The vulnerability specifically exists due to improper handling of
environment variables in the libAP system library. The libAP system
library is utilized by various setuid applications, including all
applications that are PhAB-generated. The _ApFindTranslationFile()
function fails to check bounds on the ABLPATH environment variable
prior to a strcat operation. An attacker can supply an overly long
value for ABLPATH to overflow the stack buffer and overwrite the return
address as shown here:

Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
0xb8242bf7 in ApMultiStrcat () from /usr/qnx630/target/qnx6/x86/usr/lib/
(gdb) x/i $pc
0xb8242bf7 : mov (%eax),%dl
(gdb) bt
#0 0xb8242bf7 in ApMultiStrcat () from /usr/qnx630/target/qnx6/x86/usr/lib/
#1 0xb823ce07 in _ApFindTranslationFile () from /usr/qnx630/target/qnx6/x86/usr/lib/
#2 0x42424242 in ?? ()

Attackers can supply a specially crafted value to overflow the buffer
and execute arbitrary code.


Successful exploitation of the vulnerability allows local attackers to
gain root privileges. The libAP library is a core system library on
Neutrino RTOS, however it has had a number of trivial vulnerabilities
similar to this one. A related vulnerability is the ABLANG environment
variable overflow which results in a similarly exploitable scenario.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability on QNX
Neutrino RTOS 6.3.0. All versions are suspected vulnerable.


As a workaround solution, remove the setuid bit from any programs
linked to An example is shown here:

# ls -l /usr/photon/bin/phlocale
-rwsrwxr-x 1 root root 54244 May 05 2004 /usr/photon/bin/phlocale
# ldd /usr/photon/bin/phlocale
/usr/photon/bin/phlocale: => /usr/lib/ (0xb8200000) => /usr/lib/ (0xb8210000) => /usr/lib/ (0xb8312000) => /lib/ (0xb8347000) => /lib/ (0xb8363000) => /usr/lib/ (0xb0300000)
# chmod -s /usr/photon/bin/phlocale


This issue has been corrected in QNX Momentics 6.3.0 SP3 and later versions. Patches are also available for 6.3.0 (Patch ID:230), 6.3.0 SP1 (Patch ID:231), and 6.3.0 SP2 (Patch ID:232). Please contact your QNX representative, or visit to obtain these patches.


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


12/15/2005 Initial vendor notification
02/07/2006 Public disclosure


iDefense credits Filipe Balestra ( with the
discovery of this vulnerability.

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Copyright © 2006 Verisign, Inc.

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