Security researchers have uncovered a critical client/server protocol flaw in IBMs DB2 database.
Impervas Application Defense Center reported on June 12 that it had discovered the vulnerability—which allows any attacker with network access to the database server to bring it down or to run arbitrary code—in DB2 Version 8.
The flaws severity is magnified by the fact that an attacker doesnt need database credentials to exploit the weakness, according to Imperva.
Also, due to the fact that this is a network-level flaw, attacks slip by DB2s built-in auditing mechanism.
When requested for comment on the flaw, IBM took the opportunity to thumb its nose at archrival Oracle, whose “Unbreakable” slogan and slow patch times have gotten it into sticky PR situations in the past few years.
“IBM realizes that it is unrealistic to claim that any database is unbreakable and that code—by its very nature—may contain some flaws,” IBM engineers relayed in a statement e-mailed by a spokesperson.
“This is why the IBM development teams are continually working with various security entities throughout the industry to evaluate our code and detect any potential problems,” IBMs statement continues. “Our engineers then work to quickly address any problems with an immediate patch rather than leaving our customers exposed until the next scheduled Fixpack release.”
IBM released a Fixpack for the flaw on May 12. IBMs APAR (Authorized Program Analysis Report) IY84096, which documents the flaw, is available along with the Fixpack on IBMs site.
According to IBMs APAR, the flaw results in a buffer overflow after a bad connect request causes memory corruption and crash.
“A malicious CONNECT or ATTACH request sent to a DB2 server may cause a buffer overflow and instance crash, resulting in a denial of service,” the APAR reads.
Affected DB2 versions include DB2 on Unix, Linux and Windows (all versions, all platforms).
According to IBM, DB2 users can disable or restrict remote access to the database server in order to effect a temporary fix. Users should disable the DB2 TCP/IP listener if not required, IBM instructs (set SVCENAME to NULL in the database manager configuration), or use a firewall to restrict connections to the DB2 TCP/IP listener port.
Editors Note: This story was updated to remove a reference to researchers who discovered the flaw in addition to Imperva. In fact, the researchers initially mentioned are Imperva researchers.