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Category:   Application (Database)  >   IBM DB2 Vendors:   IBM
IBM DB2 Symlink Bug and Buffer Overflows Let Local Users Gain Root Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1017695
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2007-1027   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  May 19 2008
Original Entry Date:  Feb 23 2007
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via local system, Modification of system information, Modification of user information, Root access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 8, 9
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in IBM DB2. A local user can obtain root privileges on the target system.

A local user can create a symbolic link (symlink) from a critical file on the system to certain files used by DB2. Then, the local user can invoke a set user id (setuid) DB2 binary to write to the symlinked file with setuid root user privileges.

A local user can also trigger a heap overflow or a stack overflow in the processing of an environment variable to execute arbitrary code with root privileges on the target system.

The vendor was notified on November 15, 2006.

IBM credits Joshua J. Drake of iDefense Labs with discovering this vulnerability.

Impact:   A local user can obtain root privileges on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fix (for version 9: APAR IY94833 or DB2 Version 9 Fix Pack 2; for version 8: APAR IY95081 or 8.1 FixPak 15 [available April 2007]).

The IBM advisory is available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error, Boundary error, State error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Any), UNIX (AIX), UNIX (HP/UX), UNIX (Solaris - SunOS), Windows (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDefense Security Advisory 02.22.07: IBM DB2 Universal Database

IBM DB2 Universal Database Multiple Privilege Escalation Vulnerabilities

iDefense Security Advisory 02.22.07
Feb 22, 2007


IBM Corp.'s DB2 Universal Database product is a large database server
product commonly used for higher end databases. For more information,


Local exploitation of a multiple vulnerabilities in IBM Corp.'s DB2
Universal Database allow attackers to cause a denial of service condition
or elevate privileges to root.

Several vulnerabilities exist due to unsafe file access from within
several setuid-root binaries. Specifically, when supplying certain
environment variables, the DB2 administration binaries will use the
specified filename for saving data. This allows an attacker to create or
append to arbitrary files as root.

A heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability can occur when copying data
from an environment variable. The variable contents are copied to a static
BSS segment buffer without ensuring proper NUL termination. Consequently,
this allows an attacker to cause a heap overflow in a later function call.

A stack-based buffer overflow can occur when an environment variable
contains a long string. By specifying a specially crafted value, it is
possible to overwrite the return address of a function and execute
arbitrary code.


Successful exploitation allows a local attacker to cause a denial of
service condition or potentially gain root privileges.

In some cases, the attacker does not appear to have any control over the
contents of the data written to disk. If this is true, then privilege
could only occur via another bug where the existence of specially
crafted file
name allows code execution. Denial of service is trivial by writing to
/etc/nologin or corrupting other system files.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of these vulnerabilities within IBM
Corp.'s DB2 Universal Database 9.1 release installed on Linux. Other
versions, including those installed on other architectures, are suspected
to be vulnerable as well.

These vulnerabilities do not appear to affect DB2 Universal Database
running on the windows platform.


The best defense against these vulnerabilities is to prevent untrusted
users from having code execution abilities on the respective database
server. The following workarounds also have value.

Use a more strict permissions setting for the DB2 instance directory would
prevent non-instance users from accessing the setuid-root binaries.

Remove the setuid bit from all programs included with DB2.

These configuration changes have not been tested and may cause adverse


IBM Corp. has addressed this vulnerability within IBM Universal Database
DB2 9 Fixpack 2. For more information, consult the corresponding IBM APAR
#IY94833 by visiting the following URL.


A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not
been assigned yet.


11/15/2006  Initial vendor notification
01/29/2007  Initial vendor response
02/22/2007  Coordinated public disclosure


These vulnerabilities were discovered by Joshua J. Drake (iDefense Labs).

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Copyright  2007 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
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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
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