DB2 Security Dinged Again

Two new vulnerabilities reported in IBM's database. This discovery brings the total to six security holes discovered over the past three weeks.

IBMs DB2 UDB enterprise relational database has two more holes, adding up to a total of six reported within the past three weeks.

The two most recent security vulnerabilities were reported on Thursday by security firm PenTest Ltd.

The first is a stack-based overflow vulnerability found in DB2s Invoke command. Normally, the Invoke command triggers a procedure stored at a databases location. This command is also called the DARI (Database Application Remote Interface); it executes from the databases location and returns data to a client application.

The stack-based overflow allows an intruder with database "Connect" privileges to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable servers in the context of Windows NTs Administrators group. This flaw is exploitable both by remote and local intruders, making its repair a high priority.

But its scope is limited. The hole is restricted to DB2 Version 7.2 for Windows. IBM issued a statement saying that the problem "is limited to Windows-specific code in Version 7 that was replaced in Version 8. So, the vulnerability does not affect any of the Unix or Linux versions, nor does it affect Version 8."

IBMs FixPak 10a will take care of the problem. Download it here.

The second vulnerability is yet another stack-based overflow. This one goes after DB2s Load command, which moves data from files, named pipes or devices into a DB2 table. An attacker with database "Connect" privileges can execute arbitrary code on vulnerable servers, by default in the context of the Windows Administrators group on Windows and typically db2as or db2inst1 on Linux.

Again, this vulnerability is exploitable locally or remotely. At risk are DB2 UDB Version 7.2 for Linux/x86 and DB2 UDB Version 7.2 for Windows. According to PenTest, IBM has stated that Version 8.1 is also vulnerable. PenTest reported that other DB2 versions and target platforms werent available for testing but may be vulnerable as well.

IBM said in a statement that "The problem was in common code and therefore affected all platforms and both Version 7 and Version 8 (though not all of those would have been exploitable)."

The problem can be cleaned up in DB2 7.2 with FixPak 10/10a and in DB2 8.1 with FixPak 2, available here.

These two DB2 vulnerabilities come on top of two somewhat minor ones found by Application Security Inc. on Monday and two major ones found by Core Security Technologies Inc. last month.

According to Mark Rowe—an IT security consultant at PenTest, which is the Manchester, England, company that found the latest DB2 glitches—the problems were first reported to IBM in November 2002.

While some security researchers believe that this apparent sluggishness in responding to security threats leaves enterprise databases open to sophisticated internal hacking, others such as Rowe believe that keeping vulnerabilities quiet helps to protect end users.

"We follow a responsible disclosure policy," he said. "We wont disclose any vulnerabilities until vendors have had time to fix them. Otherwise, you put the end user of the problems in a situation where theyd be vulnerable."

Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.