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Category:   Application (Security)  >   IBM Security AppScan Vendors:   Watchfire
Watchfire AppScan Buffer Overflow in Processing HTTP 401 Response Messages Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1015362
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   GENERIC-MAP-NOMATCH   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Dec 15 2005
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  Exploit Included:  Yes  
Version(s): QA 5.0.609 / Subscription 7, QA 5.0.134
Description:   Mariano Nunez Di Croce of CYBSEC reported a vulnerability in AppScan. A remote user can cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target system.

A remote user can provide an HTTP 401 response message in response to an AppScan query to trigger a buffer overflow. A specially crafted WWW-Authenticate header Realm field of more than 351 characters can trigger the overflow, causing arbitrary code to be executed on the target system. The code will run with the privileges of the user running AppScan.

A demonstration exploit is available at:

The vendor was notified on October 12, 2005.

The original advisory is available at:

Impact:   A remote user can cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fixed version (Subscription 8), available via the AppScan Update Tool.
Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  Windows (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  CYBSEC - Security Advisory: Watchfire AppScan QA Remote Code Execution

(The following advisory is also available in PDF format for download at:


Advisory Name: Watchfire AppScan QA Remote Code Execution

Vulnerability Class: Buffer Overflow

Release Date: 12/15/2005

Affected Applications:
* AppScan QA  5.0.609 / Subscription 7
* AppScan QA  5.0.134

Affected Platforms:
* Platform-Independent: Tested on Windows 2000 Server SP4

Local / Remote: Remote

Severity: High


Vendor Status:
* Confirmed, update released.

Reference to Vulnerability Disclosure Policy:

Product Overview:
AppScan QA is an automated web application testing tool that provides QA
personnel with security defect analysis and remediation information.
Instead of manually searching for security defects, application testers
trust AppScan QA to detect security defects and vulnerabilities
automatically as an integrated component of enterprise development and
testing processes. AppScan QA automates test script creation,
modification, and maintenance to ensure reliable and repeatable testing.

Vulnerability Description:
The vulnerability specifically exists in the way AppScan QA processes
401 HTTP responses. If a custom 401 response is specially crafted,
containing a WWW-Authenticate header with the Realm field consisting of
more than 351 characters, a buffer overflow occurs, leading to remote
code execution with the privileges of the user running AppScan QA.

Proof Of Concept:
A Proof of Concept can be found at

Mitigating Factors:
For the exploit to succeed, an AppScan QA user must analyze a web server
specially configured to exploit the vulnerability.

Users should upgrade AppScan QA to Subscription 8, using the AppScan
Update Tool.

Vendor Response:
* 10/12/2005: Initial Vendor Contact.
* 10/18/2005: Vendor Confirmed Vulnerability.
* 11/02/2005: Vendor Releases Update.
* 12/15/2005: Advisory Public Disclosure.

Contact Information:
For more information regarding the vulnerability feel free to contact
the author at mnunez {at}

For more information regarding CYBSEC:
(c) 2005 - CYBSEC S.A. Security Systems

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