[VulnWatch] iDEFENSE Security Advisory 01.28.03: SSH2 Clients Insecurely Store Passwords

From: iDEFENSE Labs (labs@idefense.com)
Date: 01/29/03

  • Next message: NGSSoftware Insight Security Research: "[VulnWatch] Microsoft RPC Locator Buffer Overflow Vulnerability (#NISR29012003)"
    From: "iDEFENSE Labs" <labs@idefense.com>
    To: vulnwatch@vulnwatch.org
    Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 12:51:42 -0500

    Hash: SHA1

    iDEFENSE Security Advisory 01.28.03: SSH2 Clients Insecurely Store
    Passwords (AbsoluteTelnet, SecureCRT, Entunnel, SecureFx, and PuTTY)
    January 28, 2003


    PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 platforms,
    along with an xterm terminal emulator. More information is available at

    SecureCRT provides security for remote access, file transfer, and data
    tunneling by combining the open Secure Shell protocol with emulation.
    Entunnel provides SSH2 data tunneling (port forwarding) services when
    connected to an SSH2 server. The SecureFX client application is an SFTP
    and FTP over an encrypted SSH2 client. More information is available at

    AbsoluteTelnet is a terminal client program developed for the Microsoft
    Windows platform. AbsoluteTelnet supports multiple protocols including
    Telnet, SSH1, SSH2, TAPI Dialup and direct COM. More information is
    available at http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/index.html.


    AbsoluteTelnet, SecureCRT, Entunnel, SecureFx, and PuTTY do not properly
    scrub memory allowing an attacker with access to memory or a memory dump
    to retrieve authentication information.

    When connected via SSH2, an attacker can search memory or a memory dump
    for logon credentials. Passwords transmitted by PuTTY can be found by
    searching for the second occurrence of the string "password:". The user's
    password is stored in plaintext shortly after this string. Passwords
    transmitted by SecureCRT can be found by searching for the string
    "ssh-connection". The logon and password is stored in plaintext on the
    respective sides of this keyword. Passwords transmitted by AbsoluteTelnet
    can be found by searching for the first occurrence of the string
    "Password", that lies in a segment of read/write memory. The logon and
    password is stored in plaintext on the respective sides of this keyword.


    An attacker able to ascertain a target user's memory dump will be able to
    recover passwords for remote systems. This is of special concern in shared


    iDEFENSE has verified the existence of this vulnerability in the following
    versions of the above mentioned clients:

    • AbsoluteTelnet: latest (2.11)
    • SecureCRT: latest (4.0.2) and 3.4.6
    • SecureFX : 2.1.2 and 2.0.4
    • Entunnel: 1.0.2 and earlier
    • PuTTY: latest (0.53b)

    Earlier versions of the tested clients as well as other clients may be
    vulnerable as well.


    Current development snapshots of PuTTY are believed to have this problem
    fixed. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of heavy code restructuring and
    not currently in a position to make a stable release, but the current
    snapshots should be good enough for anyone for whom this is a problem.
    - ---------------
    The SSH password vulnerability discovered by iDEFENSE has been found to
    exist in all versions of AbsoluteTelnet prior to (and including) version

    Version 2.12, which Celestial Software will make available as a FREE
    update to ALL existing users, fixes the problem by keeping password memory
    "scrubbed" and free of plaintext copies of the password.

    Version 2.12 is currently in beta testing pending the beta test group's
    acceptance of the changes it contains. Upon release, it will be available
    for download at the Celestial Software website:


    For a sneak peak at the 2.12 beta, go here:


    Thanks to iDEFENSE for bringing this to my attention and for allowing
    adequate time to make corrections! In particular, thanks to David Endler
    for staying on top of this!
    - ---------------
    VanDyke Software recognizes the efforts of iDEFENSE in discovering this
    security issue and commends iDEFENSE for the responsible manner in which
    the security issue was made known so as to allow time for revisions to be
    made before the information was released to the public.

    The vulnerability reported by iDEFENSE exists in the following versions of
    VanDyke Software client applications:

        SecureCRT: 4.0.2 and 3.4.7
        SecureFX : 2.1.2 and 2.0.4
        Entunnel: 1.0.2 and earlier

    Earlier versions of these client applications are vulnerable as well.
    VanDyke encourages all users whose licenses were purchased prior to June
    1, 2000 to consider upgrading to the current version(s) of their licensed

    Vulnerability fix downloads are available:
        SecureCRT 4.0.3 - http://www.vandyke.com/download/securecrt/index.html
        SecureCRT 3.4.8 -

        SecureFX 2.1.3 - http://www.vandyke.com/download/securefx/index.html
        SecureFX 2.0.5 -

        Entunnel 1.0.3 - http://www.vandyke.com/download/entunnel/index.html
    - --------


    The Mitre Corp.'s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Project
    assigned the following identification numbers to these issue:

    CAN-2003-0046 - AbsoluteTelnet
    CAN-2003-0047 - SecureCRT
    CAN-2003-0048 - PuTTY, SecureFx, and Entunnel


    12/13/2002 Issues disclosed to iDEFENSE
    01/09/2003 putty@projects.tartarus.org, Mark.Walker@vandyke.com, and
                    bpence@celestialsoftware.net notified
    01/09/2003 iDEFENSE clients notified
    01/09/2003 Response received from Simon Tatham [anakin@pobox.com]
    01/10/2003 Response received from Celestial Software
    01/10/2003 Response received from Van Dyke Software
    01/28/2003 Coordinated public disclosure


    Knud Erik Højgaard (knud@skodliv.dk) discovered these vulnerabilities.

    Get paid for security research

    Subscribe to iDEFENSE Advisories:
    send email to listserv@idefense.com, subject line: "subscribe"

    About iDEFENSE:

    iDEFENSE is a global security intelligence company that proactively
    monitors sources throughout the world — from technical
    vulnerabilities and hacker profiling to the global spread of viruses
    and other malicious code. Our security intelligence services provide
    decision-makers, frontline security professionals and network
    administrators with timely access to actionable intelligence
    and decision support on cyber-related threats. For more information,
    visit http://www.idefense.com .

    Version: PGP 8.0
    Comment: http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0xE4A96E4F

    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

    Relevant Pages