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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   GNOME Structured File Library Vendors:   Gnome Development Team
GNOME Structured File Library ole_init_info() Heap Overflow Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1017320
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2006-4514   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Nov 30 2006
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): prior to 1.14.2
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in GNOME Structured File Library (libgsf). A remote user can cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target user's system.

A remote user can create a specially crafted OLE file that, when loaded by the target user, will trigger a heap overflow and execute arbitrary code on the target system. The code will run with the privileges of the target user.

The ole_init_info() function is affected.

The vendor was notified on August 17, 2006.

infamous41md discovered this vulnerability.

Impact:   A remote user can create an OLE file that, when loaded by the target user, will execute arbitrary code on the target user's system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fixed version (1.14.2), available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Any), UNIX (Any)

Message History:   This archive entry has one or more follow-up message(s) listed below.
Jan 11 2007 (Red Hat Issues Fix for libgsf) GNOME Structured File Library ole_init_info() Heap Overflow Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
Red Hat has released a fix for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and 4.
Dec 14 2012 (Oracle Issues Fix for Solaris) GNOME Structured File Library ole_init_info() Heap Overflow Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
Oracle has issued a fix for Solaris.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  [Full-disclosure] iDefense Security Advisory 11.30.06: Multiple

Multiple Vendor libgsf Heap Overflow Vulnerability

iDefense Security Advisory 11.30.06
Nov 30, 2006


The GNOME Structured File Library is a utility library for reading and
writing structured file formats. This library replaces libole2 and is used
in projects such as gnumeric, mrproject, abiword, libwv2 and koffice. It is
generally used to access MS OLE2 streams. For more information, see:


Remote exploitation of a heap overflow vulnerability in libgsf, as included
in various vendors' operating system distributions, could allow an attacker
to execute arbitrary code.

The problem specifically exists in the 'ole_init_info' function; the
function only obtains enough for the number specified in 'num_bat' when
allocating memory. Later, when reading the file contents, the number
specified in 'num_metabat' is used as the bounds for a loop. Due to
insufficient validation of the aforementioned variables, an attacker could
cause a heap overflow.


Successful exploitation of this vulnerability requires an attacker to
persuade a user into opening a specially crafted OLE document. If
successful, the attacker could execute arbitrary code with the permissions
of the victim.

Inside of the 'ole_info_read_metabat' function, values read from the file
are validated to be within a range which depends on the size of the file.
Successful exploitation may be somewhat mitigated by this validation.
However, as file size increases, the number of allowed values increases.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in version
1.14.0 of the Gnome Structured File library. Any applications or libraries
that utilize this library for OLE should be considered vulnerable.


iDefense is unaware of any effective workarounds at this time.


The libgsf maintainers have addressed this problem with version 1.14.2.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2006-4514 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


08/17/2006  Initial vendor notification
08/17/2006  Initial vendor response
11/30/2006  Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by infamous41md.

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Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at
the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use of
the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this

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