Publish-It Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

Publish-It Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

1. Advisory Information

Title: Publish-It Buffer Overflow Vulnerability
Advisory ID: CORE-2014-0001
Advisory URL:
Date published: 2014-02-05
Date of last update: 2014-02-05
Vendors contacted: Poster 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-2014-0980

3. Vulnerability Description

Publish-It [1] is prone to a (client side) security vulnerability when processing .PUI files. This vulnerability could be exploited by a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target machine, by enticing the user of Publish-It to open a specially crafted .PUI file.

4. Vulnerable Packages

  • Publish-It v3.6d for Win XP.
  • Publish-It v3.6d for Win 7.
  • 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 .PUI files. Contact vendor for further information.

6. Credits

This vulnerability was discovered and researched by Daniel Kazimirow from Core Exploit Writers Team.

7. Technical Description / Proof of Concept Code

Below is shown the result of opening the Proof of concept file [2] on Windows XP SP3 (EN).

EAX 04040404
ECX 00000325
EBX 77F15B70 GDI32.SelectObject
ESP 0012F5D4
EBP 77F161C1 GDI32.GetStockObject
ESI 0103A1E8
EDI A50107D3
EIP 04040404
C 0  ES 0023 32bit 0(FFFFFFFF)
P 0  CS 001B 32bit 0(FFFFFFFF)
A 1  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_SUCCESS (00000000)
EFL 00000212 (NO,NB,NE,A,NS,PO,GE,G)
ST0 empty -??? FFFF 00000001 00010002
ST1 empty -??? FFFF 00000043 004F007A
ST2 empty -??? FFFF 7590A3E7 FDBDC8F2
ST3 empty -??? FFFF 00000043 0050007B
ST4 empty 1.0000000000000000000
ST5 empty -9.2233720368547758080e+18

The arbitrary value 0x04040404 is stored in the EIP register where our shellcode starts (just a software breakpoint 0xCC):

04040404    CC              INT3
04040405    CC              INT3
04040406    CC              INT3
04040407    CC              INT3
04040408    CC              INT3
04040409    CC              INT3
0404040A    CC              INT3
0404040B    CC              INT3

As a result, the normal execution flow can be altered in order to execute arbitrary code.

8. Report Timeline

  • 2013-12-20: Core Security Technologies attempts to contact vendor. Publication date is set for Jan 21st, 2014.
  • 2014-01-06: Core attempts to contact vendor.
  • 2014-01-15: Core asks for confirmation of the initial contact e-mail.
  • 2014-01-15: Vendor sends an e-mail with a single word: "Confirmed".
  • 2014-01-16: Core sends a technical description and asks for an estimated release date. No reply received.
  • 2014-01-21: First release date missed.
  • 2014-01-27: Core attempts to contact vendor. No reply received.
  • 2014-02-05: After one month and a half trying to contact vendor the only reply from them was the word "Confirmed" and the advisory CORE-2014-0001 is published as 'User release'.

9. References


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:

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:

12. Disclaimer

The contents of this advisory are copyright (c) 2014 Core Security Technologies and (c) 2014 CoreLabs, and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 (United States) License:

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