TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative

Hewlett-Packard Operations Manager Server Backdoor Account Code Execution Vulnerability

ZDI-09-085: November 20th, 2009


Affected Vendors

Affected Products

TippingPoint™ IPS Customer Protection

TippingPoint IPS customers are protected against this vulnerability by Digital Vaccine protection filter ID 9261. For further product information on the TippingPoint IPS:

Vulnerability Details

This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable installations of Hewlett-Packard Operations Manager. Authentication is not required to exploit this vulnerability.

The specific flaw exists due to a hidden account present within the Tomcat users XML file. Using this account a malicious user can access the org.apache.catalina.manager.HTMLManagerServlet class. This is defined within the catalina-manager.jar file installed with the product. This servlet allows a remote user to upload a file via a POST request to /manager/html/upload. If an attacker uploads malicious content it can then be accessed and executed on the server which leads to arbitrary code execution under the context of the SYSTEM user.

Vendor Response

Hewlett-Packard has issued an update to correct this vulnerability. More details can be found at:

Disclosure Timeline

    2009-11-09 - Vulnerability reported to vendor
    2009-11-20 - Coordinated public release of advisory


This vulnerability was discovered by:
    Stephen Fewer of Harmony Security (www.harmonysecurity.com)