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Category:   Application (Database)  >   MaxDB Vendors:   SAP
SAP MaxDB Untrusted Path in 'dbmsrv' Lets Local Users Gain Elevated Privileges
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1020585
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2008-1810   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Jul 31 2008
Impact:   User access via local system
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s):; possibly other versions
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in MaxDB. A local user can obtain elevated privileges on the target system.

A local user can set a specially crafted PATH environment variable value and then invoke the 'dbmcli' program to cause the program to execute arbitrary code on the target system with 'sdb' user privileges and 'sdba' group privileges.

The vendor was notified on March 27, 2008.

An anonymous researcher reported this vulnerability via iDefense.

Impact:   A local user can obtain 'sdb' user privileges on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fix (see SAP note 1178438).
Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Any), UNIX (AIX), UNIX (HP/UX), UNIX (Solaris - SunOS), UNIX (Tru64)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDefense Security Advisory 07.30.08: SAP MaxDB dbmsrv Untrusted

iDefense Security Advisory 07.30.08
Jul 30, 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
"dbmsrv" program is set-uid "sdb", set-gid "sdba", and installed by
default. For more information, visit the product's website at the
following URL.


Local exploitation of an untrusted path vulnerability in the "dbmsrv"
program, as distributed with SAP AG's MaxDB, allow attackers to elevate
privileges to that of the "sdb" user.

When a local user runs the "dbmcli" program, the MaxDB executes a
"dbmsrv" process on the user's behalf. The "dbmsrv" process, which is
responsible for executing user commands, runs as the user "sdb" with
group "sdba".

This vulnerability exists due to improper sanitization of the "PATH"
environment variable. By prefixing the "PATH" environment variable with
a path under the attacker control, one is able to execute arbitrary code
with "sdb:sdba" privileges.


Exploitation allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code with
privileges of the database owner, usually "sdb". To exploit this
vulnerability, an attacker must have the ability to create executables
on the system.


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


iDefense is currently unaware of any workaround for this issue.


SAP AG has addressed this vulnerability by releasing a new version of
MaxDB. For more information, consult SAP note 1178438.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2008-1810 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


03/27/2008  Initial vendor notification
04/01/2008  Initial vendor response
07/30/2008  Coordinated public disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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