TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative

Symantec AMS Intel Alert Handler Modem String Parsing Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

ZDI-11-030: January 27th, 2011


CVSS Score

Affected Vendors

Affected Products

    Alert Management System

TippingPoint™ IPS Customer Protection

TippingPoint IPS customers are protected against this vulnerability by Digital Vaccine protection filter ID 9415. For further product information on the TippingPoint IPS:

Vulnerability Details

This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable installations of Symantec Alert Management System. Authentication is not required to exploit this vulnerability.

The specific flaw exists within the pagehndl.dll module while processing data sent from the msgsys.exe process which listens by default on TCP port 38292. The DLL allocates a fixed length stack buffer and subsequently copies a user-supplied modem string without validating the size. By supplying a large enough value this buffer can be overflowed leading to arbitrary code execution under the context of the vulnerable daemon.

Vendor Response

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

Disclosure Timeline

    2009-07-14 - Vulnerability reported to vendor
    2011-01-27 - Coordinated public release of advisory


This vulnerability was discovered by: