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From: tmorgan-securitykavi.com
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 23:20:33 CST

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    I have been sitting on/working on this one for a while, but I am not
    experienced with Buffer overflows, so I have not yet been able to
    produce a proof-of-concept exploit. I was hoping that someone on
    the list would be luckier than I, or at least explain exactly what
    is possible. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Consistent crashes achieved on:
     Windows 98SE, 2000, ME
     Debian/GNU Linux Stable

    These crashes have occurred in multiple versions of the Real Media
    file format including the G2 format and older formats.

    The nitty gritty:

    The problem boils down to the fact that RealPlayer trusts the
    format of input from real media files a bit too much. The format,
    generally, consists of two main blocks, a header and a stream. The
    header contains many human-readable strings that delimit sub
    sections of the header. Looking at different files, one can see
    that most of these strings are optional and somewhat dynamic in

    The interesting characteristic of these strings is the fact that the
    byte(s) (one or two) right before the beginning of these strings
    tell RealPlayer how long the string is going to be. In addition,
    the strings are almost always terminated with a 00 byte. One would
    think that between this information and knowledge of how large your
    buffers are in a program reading the file, it would be easy to avoid
    any overflows. This is not the case however.

    As it turns out, RealPlayer blindly trusts the number in front of
    the string to indicate the true length of the string, and doesn't
    check to see if this number is smaller than the allocated buffer
    length. Thus, with certain strings, it is very easy to cause
    RealPlayer to crash consistently by making the two bytes in front
    of a string 0xFFFF.

    Now I have been examining this problem on Debian Linux with gdb
    which has lead me to believe, by the addresses of the buffers, that
    the strings are generally stored on the heap. However, under
    certain odd conditions, it appears to crash while copying data onto
    the stack. Whether this is because of prior heap corruption, I do
    not know. I do not have debugging facilities in the various flavors
    of windows that I have tested it on, so I have no idea where things
    are stored on those systems.

    I am perfectly willing to provide data I have gleaned from gdb, but
    I would like people to test it out for themselves first if possible.
    I do have a sample file for download which seems to immediately and
    consistently crash any RealPlayer that tries to open it. If anyone
    find differently, I would like to know about it. The file is
    located at:


    I actually just modified the music file that plays when you first
    install and run RealPlayer, so if you want to do the modification
    yourself, thus saving us all some bandwidth, just do the following:

    Whip out your hex editor and change the two bytes at offset 0x036b
    from 0x0025 to 0xffff. That is of course if you have the same
    version of firstrun.rm as I. From my earlier description, you
    should be able to figure out how to duplicate it though, either way.
    The field I changed was the File Id field.

    Thanks again for your time, and I look forward to learning more
    about this bug.