iDefense Security Advisory 03.10.08: SAP MaxDB Signedness Error Heap Corruption Vulnerability

iDefense Security Advisory 03.10.08
Mar 10, 2008


SAP's MaxDB is a database software product. MaxDB was released as open
source from version 7.5 up to version 7.6.00. Later versions are no
longer open source but are available for download from the SAP SDN
website ( as a community edition with free community
support for public use beyond the scope of SAP applications. The
"vserver" program is responsible for accepting and handling
communication with remote database clients. For more information, visit
the product's website at the following URL.


Remote exploitation of a signedness error in the "vserver" component of
SAP AG's MaxDB could allow attackers to execute arbitrary code.

After accepting a connection, the "vserver" process forks and reads
parameters from the client into various structures. When doing so, it
trusts values sent from the client to be valid. By sending a specially
crafted request, an attacker can cause heap corruption. This leads to a
potentially exploitable memory corruption condition.


Exploitation allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context
of the running service. In order to exploit this vulnerability, an
attacker must be able to establish a TCP session on port 7210 with the
target host. Additionally, the attacker must know the name of an active
database on the server.

Since this service uses the fork() system call once a connection has
been accepted, an attacker can repeatedly attempt to exploit this
vulnerability. Some exploitation attempts may result in the database
process ceasing to run, in which case further exploitation attempts
will not be possible.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in SAP AG's
MaxDB version on Linux. Other versions may also be affected.


Employing firewalls to limit access to the affected service will
mitigate exposure to this vulnerability.


SAP AG has addressed this vulnerability by releasing a new version of
MaxDB. For more information, consult SAP note 1140135.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2008-0307 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


12/06/2007 Initial vendor notification
12/10/2007 Initial vendor response
03/10/2008 Coordinated public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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