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Category:   Application (Security)  >   McAfee WebShield Vendors:   McAfee
McAfee WebShield Format String Bug in Composing Bounce Messages Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1015861
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2006-0559   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Apr 4 2006
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via network, Root access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): WebShield SMTP 4.5 MR1a
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in McAfee WebShield. A remote user can execute arbitrary code on the target system.

The code that constructs bounce messages for non-existent domains contains a format string bug. A remote user can send a specially crafted e-mail message that, when processed by the target server, will execute arbitrary code on the target system. The code will run with SYSTEM level privileges.

Ollie Whitehouse from Symantec discovered this vulnerability.

Impact:   A remote user can execute arbitrary code on the target system with SYSTEM level privileges.
Solution:   The vendor silently issued a patch (P0803 for 4.5 MR1a) in August 2003. The fix is also included in version 4.5 MR2, available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Input validation error, State error
Underlying OS:  Windows (NT), Windows (2000)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  SYMSA-2006-002: McAfee WebShield SMTP Format String Vulnerability

Advisory ID  : SYMSA-2006-002
Advisory Name: McAfee WebShield SMTP Format String Vulnerability
Release Date : 04-03-2005
Application  : McAfee WebShield SMTP 4.5 MR1a
Platform     : Microsoft Windows
Severity     : System access / remotely exploitable
Author       : Ollie Whitehouse /
Vendor status: Vendor verified, patch available.
CVE Number   : CVE-2006-0559
Reference    :


        There exists a format string vulnerability within the 
        McAfee WebShield SMTP server which allows an attacker to execute 
        arbitrary code on the host computer via an unauthenticated 
        connection. With successful exploitation, an unauthenticated 
        attacker is able to obtain SYSTEM access.


        A format string vulnerability exists in the function which handles 

        the construction of the bounce messages for non-existent domains. 

        On the way into the mail system this causes no problems (correct 
        usage of the printf() family of functions).  However, when the 
        file ‘(13digitfilename).rcp’ is picked up from the OUT directory 
        to construct the bounce message, a format string in the original 
        destination address for the mail will trigger the vulnerability. 

        Successful exploitation can lead to remote code execution.

Vendor Response:

        The above vulnerability was addressed via a patch (P0803) that was 

        released in August 2003 for Webshield SMTP 4.5 MR1a.  This 
        vulnerability has also been fixed in the latest release of the 
        product, Webshield SMTP 4.5 MR2.
        Licensed and evaluation versions of Webshield SMTP 4.5 MR2 are 
        available for customer download from the McAfee website at
        If there are any further questions about this statement, please 
        contact McAfee support.


        Apply the patch supplied by the vendor.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Information:

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned 
the following names to these issues.  These are candidates for 
inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes 
names for security problems.


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Copyright (c) 2006 by Symantec Corp.
Permission to redistribute this alert electronically is granted 
as long as it is not edited in any way unless authorized by 
Symantec Consulting Services. Reprinting the whole or part of 
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of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS 
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