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Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2017 13:32:48 +0200
From: "Stefan Kanthak" <>
To: <>
Subject: [FD] Executable installers are vulnerable^WEVIL (case 54):
	escalation of privilege with PostgresSQL installers for Windows

Hi  @ll,

the executable installers of PostgreSQL 10 for Windows,
1. PostgreSQL-10.0-1-win64-bigsql.exe, available from
   via <>,
2. postgresql-10.0-1-windows.exe and
   postgresql-10.0-1-windows-x64.exe, available from
   via <>,
are vulnerable and defective:


1.a) They load (on a fully patched Windows 7) the system DLLs
     UXTheme.dll, SAMCli.dll, SchedCli.dll, LogonCli.dll and
     CryptSP.dll from their "application directory" instead Windows'
     "system directory" %SystemRoot%\System32\, resulting in arbitrary
     code execution.

     For software downloaded with a web browser the "application directory"
     is typically the user's "Downloads" directory: see
     <> and
     <> plus
     <> and

     Also see <>,
     <> and

     Thanks to the embedded application manifest which specifies
     "requireAdministrator" the installers will be started with
     administrative privileges ("protected" administrators are prompted
     for consent, unprivileged standard users are prompted for an
     administrator password), resulting in an escalation of privilege!

     If (one of) the DLLs named above get(s) planted in the users
     "Downloads" directory, for example per "drive-by download", this
     vulnerability becomes a remote code execution WITH escalation of

     Proof of concept:

     1. Visit <>,
        and save it as UXTheme.dll in your "Downloads" directory, then
        copy it as SAMCli.dll, SchedCli.dll, LogonCli.dll and CryptSP.dll;

     2. Download the executable installers
        and save them in your "Downloads" directory;

     3. Start the downloaded installers; notice the message boxes
        displayed from the "sentinels": PWNED!

1.b) They create about a dozen DLLs with names BR*.TMP
     (as generated by Windows GetTempFileName() API, see
     in the user's (unprotected) %TEMP% directory and loads them
     during execution.

     See <> and
     <> for this
     well-known and well-documented weakness.

     An unprivileged attacker can modify these DLLs between their
     creation and loading, for example using the following (trivial)
     batch script, again resulting in arbitrary code execution with
     escalation of privilege!

     --- BITROCK.CMD ---
     If Not Exist "%TEMP%\BR????.DLL" Goto :WAIT
     For %%! In ("%TEMP%\BR????.DLL") Do Copy "%USERPROFILE%\Downloads\UXTheme.dll" "%%!"
     --- EOF ---


2.a) they have INVALID PE (section) headers; Microsoft's DUMPBIN.EXE
     aborts with "access violation" (see below) due to the INVALID
     section name "/4"!

     From the PE/COFF specification, available via

| Offset  Size  Field  Description
|      0     8  Name   An 8-byte, null-padded UTF-8 encoded string.
|                      If the string is exactly 8 characters long,
|                      there is no terminating null. For longer names,
|                      this field contains a slash (/) that is followed
|                      by an ASCII representation of a decimal number
|                      that is an offset into the string table.
|                      Executable images do not use a string table and do
|                      not support section names longer than 8 characters.
|                      Long names in object files are truncated if they
|                      are emitted to an executable file.

2.b) their IMPORT directory contains 2 IMAGE_IMPORT_DESCRIPTOR entries
     for msvcrt.dll.

     It should but have only 1 IMAGE_IMPORT_DESCRIPTOR per DLL!
     See the PE/COFF specification:

| Import Directory Table
| The import directory table consists of an array of import directory
| entries, one entry for each DLL to which the image refers.


* Don't build executable installers, they are almost always vulnerable!

  Create native installation packages for the respective OS instead.
  For Windows these are .MSI or .INF with .CAB.

* Don't use executable installers!

* stay FAR away from PostgreSQL for Windows!

stay tuned
Stefan Kanthak


2017-02-17    vulnerability report sent to

2017-02-18    reply from vendor:
              "the installers are built using Bitrock InstallBuilder
               which generates the final executable that the user
               downloads. I have therefore escalated this report to
               Bitrock's support team, and as soon as they have a
               solution will initiate a set of update releases for
               affected packages."

2017-10-05    PostgreSQL releases version 10, again sporting this

              Obviously both PostgreSQL and BitRock are unwilling,
              unable or just too incompetent to provide installers
              without well-known, trivial to detect and trivial to
              exploit vulnerabilities.

2017-10-09    report published


C:\Users\Stefan\Downloads>link.exe /dump PostgreSQL-10.0-1-win64-bigsql.exe

Microsoft (R) COFF/PE Dumper Version 8.00.50727.762
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

Dump of file PostgreSQL-10.0-1-win64-bigsql.exe


LINK : fatal error LNK1000: Internal error during DumpSections

  Version 8.00.50727.762

  ExceptionCode            = C0000005
  ExceptionFlags           = 00000000
  ExceptionAddress         = 00427362 (00400000) "C:\Program Files\...\LINK.EXE"
  NumberParameters         = 00000002
  ExceptionInformation[ 0] = 00000000
  ExceptionInformation[ 1] = 00000004

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