[VulnWatch] iDEFENSE Security Advisory 11.15.05: Multiple Vendor Insecure Call to CreateProcess() Vulnerability

Date: 11/15/05

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    Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 17:49:41 -0500
    To: bugtraq@securityfocus.com, vulnwatch@vulnwatch.org, full-disclosure@lists.grok.org.uk

    Multiple Vendor Insecure Call to CreateProcess() Vulnerability

    iDEFENSE Security Advisory 11.15.05
    November 15, 2005


    The Microsoft Windows API includes the CreateProcess() function as a
    means to create a new process and it's primary thread.
    CreateProcessAsUser() is similar but allows for the process to be run in
    the security context of a particular user.


    The format of the CreateProcess() function is as follows:

    BOOL CreateProcess(
      LPCTSTR lpApplicationName,
      LPTSTR lpCommandLine,
      LPSECURITY_ATTRIBUTES lpProcessAttributes,
      LPSECURITY_ATTRIBUTES lpThreadAttributes,
      BOOL bInheritHandles,
      DWORD dwCreationFlags,
      LPVOID lpEnvironment,
      LPCTSTR lpCurrentDirectory,
      LPSTARTUPINFO lpStartupInfo,
      LPPROCESS_INFORMATION lpProcessInformation

    The 'lpApplicationName' variable contains the name of the module to be
    executed. However, this can be a NULL value, in which case, the module
    name to be executed will be the first white space-delimited token in the
    lpCommandLine string.

    It is a known issue, that if lpApplicationName contains a NULL value and
    the full module path in the lpCommandLine variable contains white space
    and is not enclosed in quotation marks, it is possible that an alternate
    application will be executed. Consider the following scenario:

          c:\program files\sub dir\program.exe,

    In this case, the system will successively expand the string when
    interpreting the file path, until a module is encountered to execute.
    The string used in the above example would be interpreted as follows:

       c:\program.exe files\sub dir\program name
       c:\program files\sub.exe dir\program name
       c:\program files\sub dir\program.exe

    Therefore, if a file named program.exe existed in the c:\ directory, it
    would be executed instead of the intended application. This is a known
    issue, discussed directly in the API documentation:



    Despite the fact that this is a known issue, several popular
    applications, insecurely call the CreateProcess() and
    CreateProcessAsUser() functions. This creates a scenario whereby
    arbitrary code could be executed. In the scenario detailed above, if an
    attacker were able to install arbitrary code in a file at
    c:\program.exe, when the vulnerable application was launched, the code
    would be executed. The arbitrary code would generally be executed under
    the privileges of the executing user but could also be launched with
    elevated privilegs if an insecure call were made CreateProcessAsUser()
    using elevated privileges. This attack would involve some form of social
    engineering or need to be combined with another attack to first get the
    arbitrary code installed in the correct location.


    The following applications have been confirmed to be vulnerable:

    Vendor: RealNetworks
    Application: RealPlayer 10.5
    Files: realplay.exe
    Vendor: Kaspersky
    Application: Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows File Servers 5.0
    (English) - Installation File
    Files: kav5.0trial_winfsen.exe

    Vendor: Apple
    Application: iTunes
    Files: iTunesHelper.exe

    Vendor: VMWare
    Application: VMWare Workstation 5.0.0 build-13124
    Files: VMwareTray.exe
    Vendor: Microsoft
    Application: Microsoft Antispyware 1.0.509 (Beta 1)
    Files: GIANTAntiSpywareMain.exe

    Note: The vulnerability in Microsoft Antispyware was previously
    discussed on the Full-Disclosure mailing list
    but remains unpatched.


    Ensure that unexpected files are not stored in locations that can be
    used for this attack. Windows XP SP2 will alert a user of the existence
    of a file named c:\program.exe when it first boots, however, any path
    containing white space where a vulnerable application is stored could be
    used in this attack.


    The following vendor responses have been provided.


    "Due to the way iTunes 5 launches its helper application, multiple
    system paths are searched for which program to run. This may allow a
    malicious user on the local system to create an environment where an
    alternate program will be executed by iTunes. iTunes 6 addresses this
    issue and can be obtained from http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/.
    Credit to iDEFENSE for reporting this issue to us."


    "We are currently looking into the problem, and it seems that this is
    not present in the current version of KAV for File Servers."


    "Microsoft has confirmed that the Beta 2 version of its Antispyware
    product, targeted for release later this year, will address the issue
    reported by iDEFENSE."


    The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
    following names to this issue.

    RealNetworks RealPlayer 10.5

    Kaspersky Anti-Virus 5.0

    Apple iTunes

    VMWare Workstation 5.0.0 build-13124

    Microsoft Antispyware 1.0.509 (Beta 1)

    Theses are candidates for inclusion in the CVE list
    (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes names for security problems.


    09/19/2005 Initial vendor notification
    11/15/2005 Coordinated public disclosure


    The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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    Copyright 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

    Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
    electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
    written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
    part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
    email customerservice@idefense.com for permission.

    Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
    at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
    of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
    There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
    author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
    or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
    this information.

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