Sun Solaris ptexec does not adequately validate argument passed via -o option

ID VU:351219
Type cert
Reporter CERT
Modified 2002-08-28T17:25:00



The Sun Solaris ptexec command is subject to a buffer overflow due to not adequately validating arguments passed via the -o option.


A locally exploitable buffer overflow exists in the ptexec command which is included in the SUNWvts package. This package is not included in the typical default installation of Solaris. If this package is installed, it is typically installed setuid root by default. If this vulnerability is exploited by an intruder, it would allow for the execution of arbitrary code on the victim host. Due to insufficient handling of input by the -o option of the ptexec command, a buffer overflow will occur when 400 or more characters are given as input to this command. Because of this, an intruder can overwrite the memory space of the running process.


A local user can execute arbitrary code with root privileges.


Either apply a patch (when available), or upgrade to a later release of SunVTS (4.3 or later).

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Sun Microsystems Inc. __ Affected

Notified: June 12, 2001 Updated: August 28, 2002



Vendor Statement

Sun can confirm that the 'ptexec' binary which is part of the unbundled SunVTS product, (see <>), is shipped setuid in the following SunVTS versions and does contain a buffer overflow:

VTS version Solaris Release
----------- ---------------
SunVTS 4.0 Solaris 8 FCS, Solaris 8 Update 1 (06/00)
SunVTS 4.1 Solaris 8 Update 2 (10/00)
SunVTS 4.2 Solaris 8 Update 3 (01/01)

A local unprivileged user may be able to gain unauthorized root privileges due to the buffer overflow in 'ptexec'. The 'ptexec' binary has been removed from the SunVTS product starting with SunVTS4.3 (shipped with Solaris 8 Update 4 - 04/01). Thus, SunVTS releases from 4.3 onwards do not install the ptexec binary. Patches are being generated for this issue and Sun will be publishing a Sun Alert for this issue, both of which will be available here:


Upgrading to a later release of SunVTS, version 4.3 or later, will also address this vulnerability. SunVTS is available from:


Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.


The CERT/CC has no additional comments at this time.

If you have feedback, comments, or additional information about this vulnerability, please send us email.

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This vulnerability was discovered by Pablo Sor and was reported to the Bugtraq mailing list on June 21, 2001. The CERT/CC thanks Sun Microsystems for their cooperation in the production of this document.

This document was written by Ian A. Finlay

Other Information

CVE IDs: | CVE-2001-0701
Severity Metric: | 13.13
Date Public: | 2001-06-21
Date First Published: | 2002-08-28
Date Last Updated: | 2002-08-28 17:25 UTC
Document Revision: | 57