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Category:   Application (Security)  >   Clam AntiVirus Vendors:
Clam AntiVirus Heap Overflow in Processing PeSpin Packed Files Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1019851
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2008-0314   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Apr 15 2008
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 0.92.1
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in Clam AntiVirus. A remote user can cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target user's system.

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

The vulnerability resides in 'libclamav/spin.c'.

The vendor was notified on March 4, 2008.

Damian Put reported this vulnerability via iDefense.

Impact:   A remote user can create a file that, when loaded by the target application, will execute arbitrary code on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fixed version (0.93), available at:

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

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDefense Security Advisory 04.14.08: ClamAV libclamav PeSpin Heap

iDefense Security Advisory 04.14.08
Apr 14, 2008


Clam AntiVirus is a multi-platform GPL anti-virus toolkit. ClamAV is
often integrated into e-mail gateways and used to scan e-mail traffic
for viruses. It supports virus scanning for a wide variety of packed
Portable Executable (PE) binaries. PeSpin is one of the supported
packer/protectors. For more information visit the vendor's web site at
the following URL.


Remote exploitation of a heap overflow vulnerability in Clam AntiVirus'
ClamAV, as included in various vendors' operating system distributions,
allows attackers to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the
affected process.

The vulnerability exists within the code responsible for decompressing
sections within a PE binary packed with the PeSpin executable
protector. See the following excerpt from libclamav/spin.c:

  417    key32 = cli_readint32(ep+0x2fee);
  427        cli_dbgmsg("spin: Resources (sect%d) appear to be 
compressed\n\tuncompressed offset %x, len %x\n\tcompressed offset %x, 
len %x\n", j, sections[j].rva, key32 - sections[j].rva, key32, 
sections[j].vsz - (key32 - sections[j].rva));
  429        if ( (curr=(char *)cli_malloc(sections[j].vsz)) != NULL ) {
  430          memcpy(curr, src + sections[j].raw, key32 - 
sections[j].rva); /* Uncompressed part */
  431          memset(curr + key32 - sections[j].rva, 0, sections[j].vsz 
- (key32 - sections[j].rva)); /* bzero */

On line 417, a 32-bit value is read from the file into the "key32"
variable. Then a heap buffer is allocated using the "sections[j].vsz"
value on line 429. The "memcpy" call on line 430 then copies data into
the newly allocated buffer.

No validation is performed on the "key32", "sections[j].raw", and
"sections[j].rva" values before they are used in the memory copy
operation. Since these values are under attacker control, this can lead
to an exploitable heap corruption condition.


Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary
code with the privileges of the process using libclamav. In the case of
the clamd program, this will result in code execution with the
privileges of the clamav user. Unsuccessful exploitation results in the
clamd process crashing.

Although it would appear that the following "memset" call will cause a
DoS condition, iDefense Labs confirmed that it is possible to bypass
this call. This is accomplished through manipulating the file such that
the memory layout allows the "sections" structure to be completely
controlled via an overwrite by the "memcpy" call.


iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in ClamAV
0.92.1. Previous versions may also be affected.


Disabling the scanning of PE files will prevent exploitation.

  If using clamscan, this can be done by running clamscan with the 
'--no-pe' option.
  If using clamdscan, set the 'ScanPE' option in the clamd.conf file to 


The ClamAV team has addressed this vulnerability within version 0.93.
Additionally, the ClamAV team reports, "the vulnerable module was
remotely disabled via virus-db update in March."


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2008-0314 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems.


03/04/2008  Initial vendor notification
03/06/2008  Initial vendor response
04/14/2008  Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by Damian Put.

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