Oracle TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ Remote System Buffer Overrun (#NISR16022003b)

From: NGSSoftware Insight Security Research (nisr@NEXTGENSS.COM)
Date: 02/17/03

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    Date:         Mon, 17 Feb 2003 14:12:46 -0800
    From: NGSSoftware Insight Security Research <nisr@NEXTGENSS.COM>

    NGSSoftware Insight Security Research Advisory

    Name: Oracle TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ Remote System Buffer Overrun
    Systems Affected: All platforms; Oracle9i Database Release 2, 9i Release 1,
    8i, 8.1.7, 8.0.6
    Severity: High Risk
    Category: Remote System Buffer Overrun
    Vendor URL:
    Author: Mark Litchfield (
    Date: 16th February 2003
    Advisory number: #NISR16022003b

    Oracle's database server contains fuctions for use within queries. The
    TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ function exists to convert a string into a timestamp with a
    time zone datatype. This function contains an exploitable buffer overflow

    There is a remotely exploitable buffer overflow vulnerability in the
    TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ function. A normal statement would look like the following,
    converting a character string string to a value of timestamp with time zone:

    SELECT TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ('2003-02-016 12:00:00 -8:00','YYYY-MM-DD HH:MI:SS

    By supplying a long character string for the second parameter an attacker
    can overwirte a saved return address on the stack of Oracle process. Before
    this issue can be exploited an attacker must be able to log on to the
    database server with a valid user ID and password, but as the
    TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ() function can be executed by PUBLIC by default any user of
    the system can gain control. Any arbitrary code supplied by an attacker
    would execute with the same privileges as the user running the service; this
    account is typically "Oracle" on linux/unix based platforms and Local System
    on Windows based operating systems such as NT/2000/XP. As such this allows
    for a complete compromise of the data stored in the database and possibly a
    complete compromise of the operating system.

    Fix Information
    NGSSoftware alerted Oracle to this vulnerability on 30th September 2002 and
    Oracle has produced a patch which is available from

    A check for these issues has been added to NGSSQuirreL for Oracle, a
    comprehensive automated vulnerability assessment tool for Oracle Database
    Servers of which more information is available from the NGSSite

    Further Information
    For further information about the scope and effects of buffer overflows,
    please see

    About NGSSoftware
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    security assessment scanners. Based in the United Kingdom, NGSSoftware have
    offices in the South of London and the East Coast of Scotland. NGSSoftware's
    sister company NGSConsulting, offers best of breed security consulting
    services, specialising in application, host and network security

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