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From: mmaiffret at (Marc Maiffret)
Subject: EEYE: Windows Local Security Authority Service Remote Buffer Overflow

Windows Local Security Authority Service Remote Buffer Overflow

Release Date:
April 13, 2004

Date Reported:
October 8, 2003

High (Remote Code Execution)


Systems Affected:
Windows 2000 
Windows XP

eEye Digital Security has discovered a remote buffer overflow in the
Windows LSA (Local Security Authority) Service (LSASRV.DLL). An
unauthenticated attacker could exploit this vulnerability to execute
arbitrary code with system-level privileges on Windows 2000 and Windows
XP machines. The susceptible LSA functionality is accessible via the
LSARPC named pipe over TCP ports 139 and 445.

This buffer overflow bug is within the Microsoft Active Directory
service functions exposed by the LSASS DCE/RPC endpoint. These functions
provide the ability to use Active Directory services both locally and
remotely, and on default installations of Windows 2000 and Windows XP,
no special privileges are required.

Some Active Directory service functions generate a debug log file in the
"debug" subdirectory located in the Windows directory. A logging
function implemented in LSASRV.DLL is called to write entries to the log
file. In this function, the vsprintf() routine is used to create a log
entry. The string arguments for this logging function are supplied as
parameters to vsprintf() without any bounds checking, so if we can pass
a long string argument to the logging function, then a buffer overflow
will occur.

We found some RPC functions which will accept a long string as a
parameter, and will attempt to write it to the debug log file. If we
specify a long string as a parameter to these RPC functions, a
stack-based buffer overflow will happen in the Active Directory service
functions on the remote system. Attackers who successfully leverage this
vulnerability will be executing code under the SYSTEM context of the
remote host.

Technical Description:
The buffer overflow bug is in a logging function which generates a
string for the log file using vsprintf(). The name of the log file is
"DCPROMO.LOG", and it is located in the Windows "debug" directory.

The Active Directory service functions implemented in LSASRV.DLL are as

Function Function Name
0 DsRolerGetPrimaryDomainInformation
1 DsRolerDnsNameToFlatName
2 DsRolerDcAsDc
3 DsRolerDcAsReplica
4 DsRolerDemoteDc
5 DsRolerGetDcOperationProgress
6 DsRolerGetDcOperationResults
7 DsRolerCancel
8 DsRolerServerSaveStateForUpgrade
9 DsRolerUpgradeDownlevelServer
10 DsRolerAbortDownlevelServerUpgrade

In these functions, the DsRolepInitializeLog() API is called to create
the log file "DCPROMO.LOG" in the Windows "debug" subdirectory. After
calling this API, entries are written to the log file by invoking the
DsRolepLogPrintRoutine() function. The following is an example of a log
file that can be generated on the remote host using DsRolerDcAsDc() API:

09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] DsRolerDcAsDc: DnsDomainName aaaaa
09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] SiteName bbbbb
09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] SystemVolumeRootPath ccccc
09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] DsDatabasePath ddddd, DsLogPath eeeee
09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] ParentDnsDomainName fffff
09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] ParentServer ggggg
09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] Account hhhhh
09/25 21:49:22 [INFO] Options 1

The remote host can be specified as the first argument of the
DsRolerDcAsDc() API. The parameters shown in this debug log file such as
DnsDomainName "aaaaa", SiteName "bbbbb", and SystemVolumeRootPath
"ccccc" are string arguments for the DsRolerDcAsDc() API. These string
parameters are logged using DsRolepLogPrintRoutine(), so, we can cause a
buffer overflow condition by supplying a long DnsDomainName, SiteName,
SystemVolumeRootPath, etc.

However, most of Active Directory service functions call
RpcImpersonateClient() API, which changes the server thread's security
context to that of the client. Generally, the "debug" subdirectory
located in the Windows directory is not writeable by everyone if the
drive is formatted as NTFS, meaning that we cannot append to the log
using a null session. The RpcImpersonateClient() API is called before
opening the log file, and if the connected client does not have the
privilege to write to the log file, then CreateFile() will fail, and the
vulnerable call to vsprintf() is not performed.

However, the DsRolerUpgradeDownlevelServer() function, which is
supported by Windows 2000 and XP, does not use the
RpcImpersonateClient() API -- it calls DsRolepInitializeLog() API
immediately. So, if we specify a long string parameter to this function,
we can pass these parameters into vsprinf() in the
DsRolepLogPrintRoutine() API, and a buffer overflow will occur.

The DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() client API which issues the DCE/RPC
request is implemented in NETAPI32.DLL. This is an undocumented API. If
we specify a long szDomainName, LSASS.EXE -- which provides the Active
Directory service functions running on the local computer -- will crash.
This type of attack can be performed against the local machine for the
purpose of privilege escalation.

There is no parameter to specify the remote host for the
DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() client API. The API specifies the host as
NULL internally, so the DCE/RPC request will be sent to LSASS.EXE
running on the local computer. However, the function called from
LSASS.EXE does not check whether the request is sent from the local
machine or a remote one, so it will also handle requests sent from
remote hosts. So, if we craft this DCE/RPC packet by hand, or if we
modify the client API to be able to specify remote host, then we can
cause a buffer overflow on an arbitrary remote host running Windows 2000
or Windows XP.

Because the Active Directory services interface is registered on the
LSASS named pipe RPC endpoint (ncacn_np:host[\PIPE\LSARPC]), it is
sufficient to use CreateFile() and ReadFile(), WriteFile(), and/or
TransactNamedPipe() in order to communicate with LSASS.EXE on the
vulnerable host. No SMB knowledge is necessary, just an RPC bind and a
DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() packet.

We also can craft this DCE/RPC packet if we modify the instructions of
DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() client API. The first argument for
DsRolepEncryptPasswordStart() API which is used in
DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() API internally is the remote host. In
this case, NULL is specified for the first argument. So, if we can
change this to the pointer which is stored the remote host, we can send
DCE/RPC request for DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() function.

In order to modify the DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() API, the
protections on a region of this API implemented in NETAPI32.DLL must be
changed to PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE using the VirtualProtect() API. The
following code changes will allow the remote host to be specified as the
9th parameter (szUnknown2) of the DsRoleUpgradeDownlevelServer() API.

In case of Windows 2000, we should specify the DomainName as Unicode; on
Windows XP, we should use ASCII. We can execute about 2KB of code on the
remote host using this buffer overflow.

Retina Network Security Scanner has been updated to identify this

Vendor Status:
Microsoft has released a patch for this vulnerability. The patch is
available at:

Discovery: Yuji Ukai
Additional Research: Derek Soeder

Related Links:
Retina Network Security Scanner - Free 15 Day Trial

All security guys in anti rootkit research team.

Copyright (c) 1998-2004 eEye Digital Security
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The information within this paper may change without notice. Use of this
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are no warranties, implied or express, with regard to this information.
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Please send suggestions, updates, and comments to:

eEye Digital Security
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