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[ale] Sekure SDI Advisory: mSQL Remote Bug (fwd)

tracc at abraxis.com

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 01:53:30 -0200
 From: Sekure SDI SSC <bishop at SEKURE.ORG>
Subject: Sekure SDI Advisory: mSQL Remote Bug (fwd)

                              s e k u r e  SDI
                     Brazilian Information Security Team

                     -> mSQL Buffer Overflow Advisory <-

1. <.Overview.>

  mSQL is a SQL server for Unix and Windows systems. It's a complete
server to manage database (create, drop, insert tables, query, etc) and
soon it became one of the most known SQL servers in the community.

  It's most used in web servers dealing with e-commerce and web servers
which deals with database (such as search engines). We've noticed it's
most well known in the Unix servers than the Windows boxes.

2. <.The flaw(s).>

 In the mSQL v1.0.xx, we've found a lot of buffers without any bounds
check. But, what took us a special attention was the follow lines:

--- common/debug.c ---

void _msqlDebug(va_alist)
                va_list args;
        char    msg[10240],



  As we can see by looking in these lines above, we've a function which
will merrily pass a long string (over 10240 bytes) in the stack without
any check.

  But, we're still needing a call to msqlDebug to create security thread:

----- msql/msqld.c -----

        uname = (char *)strtok(packet,"\n");
        msqlDebug(MOD_GENERAL,"User = %s\n",uname);
        conArray[newSock].user = (char *)


  That's it. If the mSQL is in Debug mode, a long username (over 10240)
will crash the machine (and possible execute arbitrary codes in the

  You might be thinking it's over. Ok, we've found another security
problem which can lead to denial of service or arbitrary commands to be
executed in the stack.

  Have a good look at these lines:

----- msql/msqld.c -------

       case INIT_DB:
       cp=(char *)strtok(packet+2,"\n\r");
       if (!cp)
       msqlDebug(MOD_GENERAL,"DBName = %s\n", dbname);
       conArray[comSock].access = msqlCheckAccess(
                dbname, conArray + comSock);
       if (msqlInit(dbname) < 0)


   As you can see here, wwe've three possible threads:

   1) strcpy (dbname, cp);

     The variable dbname has 32 bytes long and the strcpy will happily
pass the database name string (which can be over 12000 bytes long) in the
stack. What took our attention was the behavior of this special buffer. We
can't reach the return address but we can mess with the socket descriptor,
causing the select function to crash, thus creating a denial of service
thread (the server was unreachable).

   2) msqlDebug(MOD_GENERAL, "DBname = %s\n", dbname);

     As explained above, the msqlDebug has a vulnerable buffer, thus
passing a long database name to the server, if it's in Debug mode, we can
reach the return address in the stack, causing a denial of service or
an arbitrary commands to be executed.

   3) msqlInit(dbname)

  Take a look at these lines:

---- msql/msqldb.c -----

int msqlInit(DB)
        char    *DB;
        char    path[255];


  The function msqlInit will merrily pass the database name (given by the
client) to a 255 bytes long buffer. It'll cause a buffer overflow, which
can lead to arbitrary commands to be executed in the stack or a denial of

  Hughes Technologies (the developer of mSQL) has developed a new version
of the server, the mSQL-2.0.xx. Thus, to make sure the vulnerability was
defeated, we've checked the code and here is the list of vulnerable

 mSQL v1.0.xx -> Vulnerable to the whole possibilities of exploiting
(arbitrary commands) and denial of service (debug and dbname).

 mSQL v2.0.2 and prior -> Vulnerable to the possibility of exploiting
(arbitrary commands) and denial of service (debug and dbname).

 mSQL v2.0.3 and above -> Not vulnerable to the exploiting vulnerability
(arbitrary commands) but it's still vulnerable to Denial of Service (debug
 and dbname). See the comments below:

  Hughes has patched the 2.0.3 version from the msqlInit() attack and the
msqlDebug attack. Though, we can still cause a denial of service in the
mSQL server:

----- common/debug.c -----

static char     msgBuf[10 * 1024];

void _msqlDebug(va_alist)



  If we pass a long string (over 10240 bytes) to the static buffer, we
can happily crash the server, causing a segmentation fault.

  The dbname thread was not completly removed, the strcpy (dbname, cp) is
still there which can lead to mess the socket descriptor, thus causing a
denial of service.

3. <.Consequences.>

  All versions of mSQL are vulnerable to Denial of Service, which can lead
to crash the database server, messing with the whole applications using
the database.

  Versions prior to 2.0.2 (including 2.0.2) are vulnerable to arbitrary
commands been executed in the stack, thus leading to gain access to the
remote machine running mSQL with the privilegies of the default mSQL user:

  - In 1.0.xx versions, the default user is *root*.
  - In 2.0.xx versions, the default user is msql (but if the server is
called by a root user, it'll only do a setuid(getuid(msql)), thus keeping
the gid(0) privileges).

4. <.Testing the vulnerability.>

  We've developed the exploitation script to this thread which we'll make
available through the web page:


  Obs.: We believe that the information must be available to the whole
community, beeing a script kiddie and using our tool for ilicit activity
is condemmed by all of our members.

5. <.Fix.>

  To defeat the exploitation, apply the mSQL patch "Sekure-mSQL".

  - Syslog implementation.
  - Minor corrections.
  - Security holes corrections.
  - Attack attempt log.

  You may also find it at:

6. <.Contacts.>

  Sekure SDI Advisory is a publication of Sekure SDI
  Brazilian Information Security Team
  mailto:info at sekure.org

  This advisory has been written by Secure Coding Sekure SDI Group.
  mailto:securecode at sekure.org

  Subscribe the "Best of Security Brasil" (bos-br) Mailing list
  http://bos.sekure.org (portuguese as the main language)
  mailto:bos-br-request at sekure.org

securecode at sekure.org
mainly written by c0nd0r <condor at sekure.org>