Feeds

Buffer the FTP Slayer

Hacking FTP made easy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Security experts have identified a potentially devastating vulnerability in FTP (file transfer protocol) servers.

The weakness uncovered is a buffer overflow flaw that attackers could exploit to gain root privileges on affected FTP servers.

The vulnerability affects several Unix platforms, including Sun Solaris 8, Hewlett Packard HP/UX 11, SGI Irix 6.5..x, NetBSD, OpenBSD and FreeBSD servers.

Buffer overflows are a common class of security vulnerability, associated with sloppy programming, which allow arbitrary and malicious code to be injected into a system through a carefully crafted malformed data entry.

Generally, this spurious input is much longer than a program expects, causing code to overflow the buffer and enter parts of a system where it may be subsequently executed.

Roy Hills, technical director at security testing firm NTA Monitor, said: "If an attacker can run arbitrary code on a box, which might take a little bit of time but is not especially difficult, then its game over and he can take complete control of a compromised machine.

"If someone is foolish enough to put their FTP server inside their network it's possible to mount a stepping stone attack and attack other systems. It's also possible to upload sensitive information."

Hill added the problem is serious because FTP is a widely used - particularly by councils and utilities which use it to transfer and share data. This is a curious example, but we get the drift.

IT vendors also make extensive use of FTP to enable customers to access software update and patches.

According to an alert issued by PGP Security's Covert Research Labs, which discovered the problem, the vulnerabilities are all related to the use of the glob() function on FTP servers, which implements filename pattern matching.

The only mitigating factor is that, with few exceptions, the vulnerabilities rely upon the remote user having the ability to create directories on the server hosting the FTP daemon.

Patches to address the vulnerability are available from most vendors. Information on how obtain these has been compiled by the CERT Coordination Centre and is available here. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.