Pentest Security Advisory : PTL-2004-02
RealNetworks Helix Server 9 Administration Server Buffer Overflow

Advisory Details

Title: RealNetworks Helix Server 9 Administration Server Buffer Overflow
Announcement date: 18 March 2004
Advisory Reference: ptl-2004-02
CVE Name: CAN-2004-0049
Products: Various RealNetworks Server Products (See Below)
Vulnerability Type: Buffer Overflow
Vendor-Status: Updated Version / Plugin Released
Remotely Exploitable: Yes (Authenticated User)
Locally Exploitable: Yes (Authenticated User)
Advisory URL:

Vulnerability Description

Several of Real Networks Helix Server products utilise a common Administration Interface which is available over HTTP and protected by HTTP Basic Authentication.

An authenticated attacker can submit malformed HTTP POST requests to the server's Administration interface, triggering a buffer overflow and executing arbitrary code on the server.

On Windows platforms where the Helix Server is run as an NT Service, this allows arbitrary code execution under the context of the NT SYSTEM account.

It should be noted that the Server does not have a default username and password - these are set during installation. In addition to this, the Server runs on a random TCP port, configured during installation.

Vulnerable Versions

Helix Universal Mobile Server & Gateway 10, version and prior
Helix Universal Server and Gateway 9, version and prior

RealSystem Server and Proxy version 8.x and earlier are not vulnerable

Whilst Windows 2000 was the only platform tested and confirmed to be exploitable by Pentest Limited, the vendor advisory indicates that multiple platforms are affected by this vulnerability including Solaris, Linux, AIX, and FreeBSD.

Vendor Status

Real Networks:

05-01-2004 - Initial Pentest Limited Notification
06-01-2004 - Notification acknowledged by Real Networks
08-01-2004 - Draft Advisory sent to Pentest Limited By Real Networks
12-01-2004 - Initial Advisory published by Real Networks stating the impact as 'Denial of Service'
26-02-2004 - Real Advisory updated to describe impact as 'potential root exploit'
18-03-2004 - Pentest Limited Advisory released


Updated versions of Helix Universal Server and Gateway 9 are available from RealNetworks.

Updated Administration System plug-ins are available.

Further details are available in the RealNetworks advisory, available at:


This vulnerability was discovered by Matt Moore from Pentest Limited.

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