Public Vulnerability Reports

Hewlett Packard HP-UX Remote pfs_mountd.rpc Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



PFS (the Portable File System) allows mounting of ISO 9660, High Sierra, and Rock Ridge (ISO 9660 with Rock Ridge extensions) CD-ROM disks. The daemon pfs_mountd.rpc is an RPC extension that is launched along with pfsd in order to allow the easy mounting of these file systems under HP-UX. It is remotely accessible over TCP and UDP.


Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability in pfs_mountd.rpc included in multiple versions of Hewlett Packard Co. HP-UX allows for remote root access.

If a remote user sends two specially crafted packets over UDP, the buffer overflow is triggered. One must first send a call to procedure 5, and soon thereafter send the actual payload to procedure 2. Due to the closed nature of the pfs_mountd.rpc protocol specification, it is unclear at this time what functions the respective procedures actually perform.


The seriousness of this vulnerability is reduced by the fact that in most cases an attacker will only have one chance at exploitation until an administrator restarts the crashed daemon after a failed attempt. However, the attack is functional over UDP, thus allowing an attacker to completely spoof the attack, possibly even making it appear from inside a trusted network.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in HP-UX 11.11i. It is suspected that previous versions are also vulnerable.


Adding firewall rules may not be enough to stop this attack due to the fact that it can be spoofed.


Hewlett-Packard discontinued support for the PFS on March 1st, 2004. As a solution to this vulnerability, Hewlett-Packard recommends discontinuing the use of PFS. More information is available from HP Security Bulletin HPSBUX02203 at the following URL.


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


10/25/2004 Initial vendor notification
10/25/2004 Initial vendor response
12/19/2005 Second vendor notification
01/30/2007 Third vendor notification
04/12/2007 Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was discovered by iDefense Labs.

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