iDefense Security Advisory 02.22.07: IBM DB2 Universal Database Multiple Privilege Escalation Vulnerabilities

Type securityvulns
Reporter Securityvulns
Modified 2007-02-23T00:00:00


IBM DB2 Universal Database Multiple Privilege Escalation Vulnerabilities

iDefense Security Advisory 02.22.07 Feb 22, 2007


IBM Corp.'s DB2 Universal Database product is a large database server product commonly used for higher end databases. For more information, visit


Local exploitation of a multiple vulnerabilities in IBM Corp.'s DB2 Universal Database allow attackers to cause a denial of service condition or elevate privileges to root.

Several vulnerabilities exist due to unsafe file access from within several setuid-root binaries. Specifically, when supplying certain environment variables, the DB2 administration binaries will use the specified filename for saving data. This allows an attacker to create or append to arbitrary files as root.

A heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability can occur when copying data from an environment variable. The variable contents are copied to a static BSS segment buffer without ensuring proper NUL termination. Consequently, this allows an attacker to cause a heap overflow in a later function call.

A stack-based buffer overflow can occur when an environment variable contains a long string. By specifying a specially crafted value, it is possible to overwrite the return address of a function and execute arbitrary code.


Successful exploitation allows a local attacker to cause a denial of service condition or potentially gain root privileges.

In some cases, the attacker does not appear to have any control over the contents of the data written to disk. If this is true, then privilege escalation could only occur via another bug where the existence of specially crafted file name allows code execution. Denial of service is trivial by writing to /etc/nologin or corrupting other system files.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of these vulnerabilities within IBM Corp.'s DB2 Universal Database 9.1 release installed on Linux. Other versions, including those installed on other architectures, are suspected to be vulnerable as well.

These vulnerabilities do not appear to affect DB2 Universal Database running on the windows platform.


The best defense against these vulnerabilities is to prevent untrusted users from having code execution abilities on the respective database server. The following workarounds also have value.

Use a more strict permissions setting for the DB2 instance directory would prevent non-instance users from accessing the setuid-root binaries.

Remove the setuid bit from all programs included with DB2.

These configuration changes have not been tested and may cause adverse behavior.


IBM Corp. has addressed this vulnerability within IBM Universal Database DB2 9 Fixpack 2. For more information, consult the corresponding IBM APAR

IY94833 by visiting the following URL.


A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not been assigned yet.


11/15/2006 Initial vendor notification 01/29/2007 Initial vendor response 02/22/2007 Coordinated public disclosure


These vulnerabilities were discovered by Joshua J. Drake (iDefense Labs).

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Copyright © 2007 iDefense, Inc.

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