Publish-It Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

Advisory ID Internal

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 EDX FFFFFF99 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, A Fortra Company is charged with researching and understanding security trends as well as anticipating the future requirements of information security technologies. CoreLabs studies cybersecurity trends, focusing on problem formalization, identification of vulnerabilities, novel solutions, and prototypes for new technologies. The team is comprised of seasoned researchers who regularly discover and discloses vulnerabilities, informing product owners in order to ensure a fix can be released efficiently, and that customers are informed as soon as possible. CoreLabs regularly publishes security advisories, technical papers, project information, and shared software tools for public use at  

11. About Core Security, A Fortra Company

Core Security, a Fortra Company, provides organizations with critical, actionable insight about who, how, and what is vulnerable in their IT environment. With our layered security approach and robust threat-aware, identity & access, network security, and vulnerability management solutions, security teams can efficiently manage security risks across the enterprise. Learn more at

Core Security is headquartered in the USA with offices and operations in South America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. To learn more, contact Core Security at (678) 304-4500 or [email protected].

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 advisories team.