Edit Report

Our sensors found this exploit at: http://cxsecurity.com/ascii/WLB-2006090058

Below is a copy:

          Core Security Technologies - CoreLabs Advisory

AOL ICQ Pro 2003b heap overflow vulnerability

Date Published: 2006-09-07

Last Update: 2006-09-06

Advisory ID: CORE-2006-0321

Bugtraq ID: None currently assigned

CVE Name: None currently assigned

Title: AOL ICQ Pro 2003b heap overflow vulnerability

Class: Boundary Error Condition

Remotely Exploitable: Yes

Locally Exploitable: Yes

Advisory URL:

Vendors contacted:

America Online Inc.
 . 2006-07-27: Initial notification sent to vendor, advisory release
   date set for Aug. 14th.
 . 2006-07-27: Vendor response acknowledging notification.
 . 2006-08-11: Request for an update sent to vendor asking for an
   estimated date for fix availability.
 . 2006-08-14: Request for an update sent to vendor asking for an
   estimated date for fix availability, advisory release date now set
   for Aug. 22nd.
 . 2006-08-15: Vendor response received. Still determining when a fix
   will be available. A new update from the vendor forthcoming before
   Aug. 22nd.
 . 2006-08-16: Vendor email received requesting further technical details
   or proof-of-concept code.
 . 2006-08-17: Core response vendor: proof-of-concept for the ICQ client
   bug can not be made available as standalone program without incurring
   in a substantial development effort.
 . 2006-08-21: Vendor email describing coordination issues with ICQ
   development team. No fix schedule provided
 . 2006-08-17: Core response vendor: proof-of-concept can not be made
   available as standalone program without incurring in a substantial
   development effort.
 . 2006-08-21: Vendor email describing coordination issues with ICQ
   development team. No fix schedule provided.
 . 2006-08-21: In liue of proof-of-concept, Core provides succinct
   technical explanation of the problem in the ICQ 2003b client.
 . 2006-08-29: Updated advisory sent to vendor requesting comments and
   fix availability information. Advisory release date now set for
   Aug. 31st.
 . 2006-08-30: Vendor response received stating that 30 days is
   insufficient to fix bugs and reiterating the previously noted
   coordination and communications problems with engineering team at
   remote facilities. No tentative fix schedule made available, earliest
   date for an official vendor statement about fixes is Sept. 1st
 . 2006-08-30: Core response to vendor, publication of advisories will be
   delayed until Sept. 6th in order to receive offical statement from
   vendor. Baring a precise schedule that demonstrates an imminent
   release of fixes the publication date is final.
 . 2006-08-30: Vendor provides an official statement.
 . 2006-09-07: Advisory published.

Release Mode: USER RELEASE

*Vulnerability Description:*

A vulnerability in AOL's ICQ Pro 2003b instant messenger client could
 lead to denial of service attacks and remote compromise of systems
 running vulnerable versions of the client.

The AOL/Mirabilis ICQ client is a popular Instant Messaging (IM) program
 that enables users to communicate through instant messaging, chat,
 e-mail, SMS and wireless-pager messages as well as transferring files
 and URLs, among other features.

In 1998 America Online Inc. acquired Mirabilis Ltd., the company
 responsible for the development of the ICQ instant messenger and all
 associated services at that time. [1] Since then, AOL's ICQ unit
 continued to develop and maintain the ICQ client program.

The ICQ Pro2003b client was officially launched on October 30th, 2003
 and included capabilities to interoperate with AOL's Instant Messenger
 AIM) and AOL services. The press release with the ICQ Pro 2003b
 announcement indicated that, at the time, ICQ had over 160 million
 registered users that spent - when connected - an average of 4.5 hours
 on the service. [2]

The latest release of this particular IM client, ICQ Pro 2003b Build
 #3916, is still one of the officially available options for users who
 want to download an ICQ client from ICQ?s website (http://www.icq.com).

Even though by its name the IM client may seem to be a "veteran" client,
 the ICQ team has been updating it up until -at least- Build #3916
 released on October 2005. [3]

A vulnerability found in the way the ICQ Pro 2003b client handles
 incoming message lengths could lead to denial of service attacks and
 remote compromise of systems running vulnerable versions of the client.

Attacks that leverage this vulnerability would be difficult to identify
 and isolate as exploit traffic does not present any features that makes
 it easily distinguishable from normal IM communications.

*Vulnerable Packages:*

The following AOL/ICQ software products are affected by this issue:
 - ICQ Pro 2003b Build #3916 and previous.

*Non-vulnerable Packages:*

- ICQ 5.1
 - ICQ2Go!

*Solution/Vendor Information:*

Statement provided by AOL Product Vulnerabilities team:
 "AOL has recently been made aware of a vulnerability in the ICQ 2003b
 client build #3916. Successful exploitation of the vulnerability may
 allow an attacker to remotely execute commands.

AOL and ICQ recommend that users upgrade to the latest version of the
 ICQ client: ICQ 5.1"


Luciana Tabo, Lucas Lavarello, Sebastian Cufre, Ezequiel Gutesman and
 Javier Garcia Di Palma from Core Security Technologies discovered and
 tested this vulnerability during Bugweek 2006.

This vulnerability was found using synaptic-based fuzzing.

*Technical Description - Exploit/Concept Code:*

A heap overflow vulnerability was found in the ICQ Pro 2003b build #3916
 IM client. The problem derives from the way the vulnerable client
 handles the length of a specific type of message received from other

The ICQ protocol supports exchange of IM messages both using servers as
 well as with direct client-to-client connections, where data is sent
 without a need for an intermediate ICQ server to process it.

The vulnerability was tested using the client-server-client model,
 presenting a high-risk scenario since exploitation does not require the
 establishment of a direct client-to-client connection with the victim
 system. In the tested case, ICQ communications servers will pass
 malicious traffic to unsuspecting clients without inspecting it first
 and without enforcing strict sanity checks on the data fields.

To understand the technical description that follows, a few terms from
 common ICQ message communication terminology will be defined:

FLAP: A 6 bytes structure, used to identify the channel (login[1],
 connected[2], errors[3], logout[4], ...) for the packet being sent.

It also contains a sequence number and the length of the whole packet.

SNAC: A 10 bytes header used to identify the purpose of the packet.
 SNACs identify packet types through a family type (Word) as well as a
 SubType (Word).

TLV: Type-Length-Value, a container structure where the first two fields
 are a Type (Word) and a Length (Word), followed by the data.

LNTS: A null terminated string preceded by a word (Little Endian),
 indicating the length of the NTS, including the terminating null

The vulnerability is triggered when a specific packet is received by a
 vulnerable client on FLAP Channel 2, the channel in which most of the
 packets are sent during a successful connection.

There are 3 main types of messages at the time of exchanging data
 between ICQ clients when communicating through servers:
[Type 1] - Simple, plaintext messages.
[Type 2] - Messages, extended to support rtf, colors, etc.
[Type 4] - Utility messages, used for URLs, contacts, etc..

The issue resides inside a Type 2 message. Messages are stored inside
 the Channel 2 FLAP with a SNAC of family-type 4, subtype 6.

Here is the outlook of ICQ communications packet so far:
 [FLAP channel 2
   [ SNAC type 4 - subtype 6
     [message type 2]

There are two other encapsulation layers within the described packet
 that need to be inspected in order to identify malicious data that could
 trigger or exploit the described bug. Inside the Type 2 Message, a TLV
 of Type 5 will include a set of information such as client capabilities
 and sequence numbers. These are split in different Sub-TLVs within the
 type 5 TLV (carried within a Type-2 message of SNAc type4, subtype 6).

There is one Sub-TLV in particular that we want to look at: TLV Type

TLV Type 0x2711 will hold, among other things, a Message structure that
 includes LNTs.

So, let's look at an updated version of the previous outline:

[FLAP channel 2
  [ SNAC type 4 - subtype 6
     [message type 2
       [ TLV type 5
         [TLV type 0x2711
           [Message - LNTS ]

It is inside the TLV type 0x2711 where a LNTS field resides with the
 contents of the [Message]. AS explained above, the first word of a LNTS
 determines the length of the message, followed by a null-terminated

The ICQ Pro 2003b client does not perform any sanity check on this
 length field and does not compare it to the actual size of the 0x2711
 TLV or the size of the entire received packet. Unlike with other packet
 fields, an intermediate server does not perform any sanitation on the
 contents of this field either and therefore passes potentially malformed
 data to connected clients, making a fully controllable attack vector
 available to using potentially malicious IM client programs.

The nature of the bug can be understood by attaching a debugger to the
 ICQ Pro 2003b client and tracing down the issue to find the problem
 inside a routine called ?MCRegEx__Search?, which calls memset to clear
 the contents of a heap allocated buffer, directly using our length field
 (described above) as the third argument to the memset function. [4]

The following short disassembly should provide more detail:

First breakpoint is set inside ICQCUtl!ReadStringBCStreamFormat:

20002108 ff152cb00020 call dword ptr [ICQCUtl!MCRegEx__Search+0x89d4
 (2000b02c)]{ICQRT!Ordinal360 (21382b39)} ds:0023:2000b02c=21382b39

The reason the initial breakpoint is set inside ReadStringBCStreamFormat
 is because MCRegEx__Search is constantly called from several different

It is inside this routine that a call to ICQRT!Ordinal116+0x1af ends up
 calling memset and using our length value directly:

213821ea 0fbe442414  movsx  eax,byte ptr [esp+0x14]
 213821ef 53          push   ebx   (length specified in the LNTS)
 213821f0 50          push   eax   (character being written, 0)
 213821f1 8b4604      mov    eax,[esi+0x4]
 213821f4 034608      add    eax,[esi+0x8]
 213821f7 50          push   eax   (destination buffer)
 213821f8 e8b5300000  call   ICQRT!Ordinal116+0x1af (213852b2)

ICQRT!Ordinal116+0x1af is the stub for memset that contains a direct
 jmp to the msvcrt.


Switch to ICQ 5.1, which is (at the moment of writing the advisory) the
 latest build for the alternative non-vulnerable ICQ official client.

ICQ 5.1 is available at http://www.icq.com.


[1] http://www.icq.com/info/press/press_release26.html
 [2] http://www.icq.com/info/press/press_release51.html
 [3] http://www.icq.com/download/pro/
 [4] http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/man.cgi?query=memset&apropos=0&sektion=3&

*About CoreLabs*

CoreLabs, the research center of Core Security Technologies, is charged
 with anticipating the future needs and requirements for information
 security technologies.

We conduct our research in several important areas of computer security
 including system vulnerabilities, cyber attack planning and simulation,
 source code auditing, and cryptography. Our results include problem
 formalization, identification of vulnerabilities, novel solutions and
 prototypes for new technologies.

CoreLabs regularly publishes security advisories, technical papers,
 project information and shared software tools for public use at:

*About Core Security Technologies*

Core Security Technologies develops strategic solutions that help
 security-conscious organizations worldwide. The company?s flagship
 product, CORE IMPACT, is the first automated penetration testing product
 for assessing specific information security threats to an organization.

Penetration testing evaluates overall network security and identifies
 what resources are exposed. It enables organizations to determine if
 current security investments are detecting and preventing attacks.

Core augments its leading technology solution with world-class security
 consulting services, including penetration testing, software security
 auditing and related training.

Based in Boston, MA. and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Core Security
 Technologies can be reached at 617-399-6980 or on the Web at


The contents of this advisory are copyright (c) 2006 CORE Security
 Technologies and (c) 2006 CoreLabs, and may be distributed freely
 provided that no fee is charged for this distribution and proper credit
 is given.

$Id: icq2003b-advisory.txt,v 1.15 2006/09/07 19:35:53 carlos Exp $

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