[oCERT-2008-014] WordNet stack and heap overflows Sep 01 2008 03:43PM
Rob Holland (rob ocert org)
2008/08/25 #2008-014 WordNet stack and heap overflows

Description:

The WordNet 3.0 Unix library and command-line interface suffer from a
number of stack overflows due to their handling of command line
arguments,
environment variables and data read from user supplied dictionaries.

The oCERT team was contacted by Moritz Muehlenhoff from the Debian
project requesting an audit of the WordNet code base. These
vulnerabilities
were the findings of the requested audit.

Stack overflows fed via the command line, environment variables or
WordNet library calls can result in arbitrary code execution.

Stack and heap overflows via modified WordNet dictionaries may allow
arbitrary
code execution.

It should be noted that despite the ease with which arbitrary code can
be executed via these WordNet flaws, unless WordNet is being used by a
daemon or web
service running as a user other than that of the attacker, this is
unlikely to
result in privilege escalation or the ability to take any action not
already
possible as the attacking user.

The following patch fixes the issues:
http://www.ocert.org/analysis/2008-014/wordnet.patch

Affected version:

WordNet = 3.0

Fixed version:

Princeton unfortunately lack the resources to produce a new release of
this
code and will therefore not be releasing a new version as a result of
this
audit.

Credit: Rob Holland, oCERT Team | Inverse Path Ltd

CVE: TBD

Timeline:

2008-06-02: audit requested
2008-06-25: first phase audit completed
2008-07-15: second phase audit completed
2008-07-19: report and patch sent upstream and to audit requester
2008-08-12: report and patch resent upstream due to lack of response
2008-08-13: upstream acknowledge issues
2008-09-01: advisory release

References:
http://www.ocert.org/analysis/2008-014/analysis.txt: oCERT
vulnerability analysis report

Permalink:
http://www.ocert.org/advisories/ocert-2008-014.html

--
Rob Holland
rob (at) ocert (dot) org [email concealed]

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