Sun iPlanet Web Server Remote File Viewing Vulnerability
iPlanet Web Server 6.0 SP2
iPlanet Web Server 4.1 SP9 Netscape Enterprise Server 3.6
Windows NT Other platforms not tested
July 9 2002
Sun's iPlanet Web Server has a flaw in its search
function that allows remote viewing of any files on the
The search engine that is included with iPlanet and
previous versions uses HTML pattern files to get and
format search parameters from users. By using the
NS-query-pat command, a user can specify their own
query pattern file rather than using the default one
provided by the web site. Unfortunately, the search
engine does no validity checking on the query pattern
file thus requested. If, for instance, you telnet to
port 80 on an iWS web server and issue the command:
iPlanet will happily provide you with the contents of
the boot.ini file. This overrides all access control
This has been tested on all version of NES and iWS on
Windows NT and 2000. Versions on other platforms may
not be affected.
Turn off the search engine (it is off by default on
6.0) until a fix is provided.
I have written a Snort alert for this, but in light of
David Litchfield's buffer overflow advisory, I suggest
turning off the search engine altogether. Still, here
is the snort sig:
alert tcp $EXTERNAL_NET any -> $HOME_NET 80
(msg:"WEB-MISC iPlanet Search Engine File Viewing";
classtype:web-application-attack; sid:1000999; rev:1;)
You will need to put this near the top of your
web-misc.rules file otherwise an attack may be
identified simply as a web traversal attempt.
Vendor Contact Information
I originally wrote to Sun about this on May 22 2002 and
was advised that it would be fixed in the next Service
Pack. David Litchfield says that 6.0 SP3/4.1 SP10 is
out, but I don't yet see it on their Product Tracker
site. I was going to wait to release this information
until I had the Service Pack, feeling secure with my
Snort sig but decided to go ahead since it pales in
comparison to David's buffer overflow advisory.
This bug was originally brought to my attention by a
scan from the good folks at Qualys Corporation.
Unfortunately, Qualys did not provide an actually
advisory on it and I could find any such beast
elsewhere. Hence I decided to research the problem and
write my own.