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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   rdesktop Vendors:
rdesktop Buffer Overflow in process_redirect_pdu() Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1019991
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2008-1802   (Links to External Site)
Date:  May 8 2008
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 1.5.0
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in rdesktop. A remote user can execute arbitrary code on the target system.

A remote RDP server can send a specially crafted RDP redirect request to the connected target user to trigger a buffer overflow and execute arbitrary code on the target user's system. The code will run with the privileges of the target user.

The vulnerability resides in the process_redirect_pdu() function in 'rdp.c'.

The vendor was notified on November 12, 2007.

An anonymous researcher reported this vulnerability via iDefense.

Impact:   A remote server can execute arbitrary code on the connected target user's system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a source code fix, available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Any), UNIX (Any)

Message History:   This archive entry has one or more follow-up message(s) listed below.
Aug 19 2008 (Sun Issues Advisory) rdesktop Buffer Overflow in process_redirect_pdu() Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
Sun is working on a fix for OpenSolaris.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDefense Security Advisory 05.07.08: Multiple Vendor rdesktop

iDefense Security Advisory 05.07.08
May 07, 2008


rdesktop is an open source client that speaks the Remote Desktop
Protocol (RDP). This allows Unix-based users to login to Windows
Terminal Servers. More information is available at the following URL.


Remote exploitation of a BSS overflow vulnerability in rdesktop, as
included in various vendors' operating system distributions, allows
attackers to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the
logged-in user.

The vulnerability exists within the code responsible for reading in an
RDP redirect request. This request is used to redirect an RDP
connection from one server to another. When parsing the redirect
request, the rdesktop client reads several 32-bit integers from the
request packet. These integers are then used to control the number of
bytes read into statically allocated buffers. This results in several
buffers located in the BSS section being overflowed, which can lead to
the execution of arbitrary code.


Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary
code with the privileges of the logged in user. In order to exploit this
vulnerability, an attacker must persuade a targeted user to connect to a
malicious RDP server.


iDefense confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in rdesktop
version 1.5.0. Previous versions may also be affected.


iDefense is currently unaware of any effective workaround for this


The rdesktop maintainer has addressed this vulnerability with CVS
revision 1.102 of rdp.c. For more information, visit the following URL.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2008-1802 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


11/12/2007  Initial vendor notification
11/19/2007  Initial vendor response
05/07/2008  Public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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