Unchecked buffer in telnet flaw

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by Paul Wilders, Feb 9, 2002.

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  1. Paul Wilders

    Paul Wilders Administrator

    Jul 1, 2001
    The Netherlands
    Unchecked Buffer in Telnet Server Could Lead to Arbitrary Code Execution

    Date: 07 February 2002
    Software: Telnet Service in Microsoft Windows 2000; Telnet Daemon in Microsoft Interix 2.2
    Impact: Denial of Service; Possibly Run Code of Attacker's Choice
    Max Risk: Moderate
    Bulletin: MS02-004

    Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletin at:


    The Telnet protocol provides remote shell capabilities. Microsoft has implemented the Telnet protocol by providing a Telnet Server in several products. The implementations in two of these products - Windows 2000 and Interix 2.2 - contain unchecked buffers in the code that handles the processing of telnet protocol options.

    An attacker could use this vulnerability to perform a buffer overflow attack. A successful attack could cause the Telnet Server to fail, or in some cases, could possibly allow an attacker to execute code of her choice on the system. Such code would execute using the security context of the Telnet service, but this context varies from product to product. In Windows 2000, the Telnet service always runs as System; in the Interix implementation, the administrator selects the security context in which to run as part of the installation process.

    Mitigating Factors:
    - While the Telnet Service in Windows 2000 is installed by default, it is not running by default. As a result, a Windows 2000 system would only be vulnerable if the administrator had started the service
    - Remotely exploiting this vulnerability would require the attacker to have the ability to connect to the Telnet Server. Best practices recommends against allowing Telnet access on uncontrolled networks.
    - The Telnet Daemon in Interix 2.2 is not installed by default when Interix 2.2 is installed. An administrator would have to choose to install and configure this feature.
    - The Telnet Daemon in Interix does not specify a security context by default. The administrator specifies the security context when they configure or run the daemon. Best practices recommend that the Telnet Daemon run in a context of least privilege, meaning that it have only those rights necessary and no more.

    Risk Rating:
    - Internet systems: Moderate
    - Intranet systems: Moderate
    - Client systems: Moderate

    Patch Availability:
    - A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the Security Bulletin at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms02-004.asp for information on obtaining this patch.


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