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Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 11:56:14 -0400
From: "iDEFENSE Labs" <>
To: <>
Subject: iDEFENSE Security Advisory 05.04.05: Apple Mac OS X vpnd Server_id Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

Apple Mac OS X vpnd Server_id Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 05.04.05
May 04, 2005


Mac OS X is an operating system for the Apple family of microcomputers.
More information is available at the following link:


Local exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability in Apple Computer,
Inc.'s Mac OS X allows attackers to execute arbitrary code.

vpnd is the system daemon which manages IPSEC or PPTP connections. The
vulnerability specifically exists due to insufficient bounds checking on
the value given to the Server_id parameter. Server_id may be set from
the command line via the -i option. The Server_id is then referenced
from the file in the
/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration directory to load the
appropriate configuration profile. Local attackers can supply an overly
long Server_id value to overflow the buffer and execute arbitrary code.


Successful exploitation of this vulnerability will result in execution
of arbitrary code with root privileges. It should be noted that the file is only present by default on
Server platforms. On standard OS X installs, the file must be created
manually or generated by the graphical network configuration tools in
order for vpnd to execute far enough to cause the overflow to occur.


iDEFENSE has confirmed that Mac OS X 10.3.7 is vulnerable. The vendor 
has indicated that all versions prior to OS X 10.3.9 are vulnerable.


As a workaround solution, remove the executable privilege bit for
non-root users from the /usr/sbin/vpnd binary until the vendor releases
a patch.


The vulnerability is addressed in Apple Security Update 2005-005:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-1271 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


04/25/2005  Initial vendor notification
04/27/2005  Initial vendor response
05/04/2005  Coordinated public disclosure


Jason Aras is credited with this vulnerability.

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Copyright (c) 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
email for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.

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