Type packetstorm
Modified 1999-11-12T00:00:00


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ISS Security Advisory  
November 10, 1999  
Multiple Root Compromise Vulnerabilities in Oracle Application Server  
Internet Security Systems (ISS) X-Force has discovered multiple  
vulnerabilities in the Oracle Application Server (OAS) that may lead to  
local super-user access. Attackers may use these vulnerabilities to destroy  
root owned files as well as gain root access. An account on the target  
system is required to exploit these vulnerabilities.  
Affected Versions:  
ISS X-Force has determined that Oracle Application Server version 4.0 for  
Solaris is affected by these vulnerabilities. All revisions prior to  
version 4.0.8 are affected.  
Server Startup Vulnerabilities: The Oracle Application Server is owned by  
the user 'oracle' in most configurations. This includes the administrative  
utilities to start, stop, and manipulate the servers. Unprivileged users  
may not bind servers to ports below 1024. Oracle has made the 'owslctl'  
utility root, which allows normal users to start the server on privileged  
ports. Attackers may take advantage of this design to compromise super-user  
Apache Startup Vulnerabilities: The Oracle Application Server offers web  
administrators the option to install and configure HTTP listeners. The  
Oracle Management server supports both Netscape and Apache listeners in  
addition to those provided by Oracle with the Application Server. An  
administrator choosing to install an Apache listener must supply a unique  
name, a path to the server's executable, and a configuration file. Once  
supplied, a backend setuid root executable attempts to start the Apache  
An attacker with an unprivileged account on the target system may trick  
'apchlctl' into executing any arbitrary command as root. The Apache start  
executable is also unsafe in handling write() calls and certain files  
created will follow symbolic links.  
Oracle has supplied ISS X-Force with two potential fixes for the described  
vulnerabilities. Oracle has informed ISS X-Force that fix 1, which is most  
secure, will affect OAS failure recovery for Oracle Web Listener processes  
running on port numbers < 1024. Fix 2, which is less secure, requires that  
the Oracle account be treated as a trusted account and customers should take  
all precautions necessary to protect access to it. ISS X-Force recommends  
that Oracle Application Server administrators carefully evaluate these fixes  
before they are applied.  
Oracle customers can find important information on this OAS security issue  
on Oracle's web-based Metalink system at  
Customers should reference document number 76484.1 under the advanced search  
engine available on Metalink. Customers can also find an alert under Oracle  
Application Server on the Oracle Metalink system.  
ISS X-Force recommends verifying the existence of the vulnerability through  
the use of System Scanner. For additional info please visit the following  
To download the checks for System Scanner Version 3 Solaris Agent go to the  
following URL:  
These vulnerabilities were primarily researched by Dan Ingevaldson of the  
ISS X-Force. ISS X-Force would like to thank Oracle Corporation for their  
response and handling of these vulnerabilities.  
About ISS  
ISS is a leading global provider of security management solutions for  
e-business. By offering best-of-breed SAFEsuite(tm) security software,  
comprehensive ePatrol(tm) monitoring services and industry-leading  
expertise, ISS serves as its customers' trusted security provider protecting  
digital assets and ensuring the availability, confidentiality and integrity  
of computer systems and information critical to e-business success. ISS'  
security management solutions protect more than 5,000 customers including 21  
of the 25 largest U.S. commercial banks, 9 of the 10 largest  
telecommunications companies and over 35 government agencies. Founded in  
1994, ISS is headquartered in Atlanta, GA, with additional offices  
throughout North America and international operations in Asia, Australia,  
Europe and Latin America. For more information, visit the ISS Web site at or call 800-776-2362.  
Copyright (c) 1999 by Internet Security Systems, Inc.  
Permission is hereby granted for the redistribution of this Alert  
electronically. It is not to be edited in any way without express consent  
of the X-Force. If you wish to reprint the whole or any part of this  
Alert in any other medium excluding electronic medium, please e-mail for permission.  
The information within this paper may change without notice. Use of this  
information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There  
are NO warranties with regard to this information. In no event shall the  
author be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of or in  
connection with the use or spread of this information. Any use of this  
information is at the user's own risk.  
X-Force PGP Key available at: as  
well as on MIT's PGP key server and's key server.  
Please send suggestions, updates, and comments to: X-Force  
of Internet Security Systems, Inc.  
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