Users login

Create an account »


Users login

Home » Hacking News » AtStake a031703-1: ePolicy Orchestrator

AtStake a031703-1: ePolicy Orchestrator

by Nikola Strahija on March 19th, 2003 There is a vulnerability in the processing of network requests that allows an attacker to anonymously execute arbitrary code.

Hash: SHA1

@stake, Inc.

Security Advisory

Advisory Name: ePolicy Orchestrator Format String Vulnerability
Release Date: 03/17/2003
Application: McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator 2.5.1
Platform: Windows 2000 Server SP1
Windows 2000 Pro SP1
Severity: There is a a format string vulnerability
that leads to the remote execution of code as
Authors: Ollie Whitehouse [[email protected]]
Andreas Junestam [[email protected]]
Vendor Status: Vendor has patch available
CVE Candidate: CAN-2002-0690


McAfee Security ePolicy Orchestrator
( products/epolicy/default-desktop-
protection.asp [line wrapped]) is an enterprise antivirus management
tool. ePolicy Orchestrator is a policy driven deployment and
reporting tool for enterprise administrators to effectivley manage
their desktop and server antivirus products.

There is a vulnerability in the processing of network requests that
allows an attacker to anonymously execute arbitrary code. To attack
a machine running ePO, an attacker would typically need to be
located within the corporate firewall with access to TCP port 8081
on the host they wish to compromise. Once the vulnerability is
sucessfully exploited the attacker gains SYSTEM level privileges on
the host.

This is a good example of why you should perform a risk analysis of
all new solutions being introduced in to your environment even when
the product is designed to enhance your overall security.


The ePolicy Orchestrator Agent is a service that to allows
the retrieval of log data. It should be noted that the Agent does
not require password authentication to gain access and allows the
retrieval of sensitive information (i.e. the source AV server, local
paths etc.). By default the agent runs as SYSTEM on the host and
thus can be used to either elevate local privileges or remotely
compromise the host.

The ePO agent uses the HTTP protocol to communicate on port 8081.
Sending a GET request with a request string containing a few format
string characters will cause the service to terminate. An event
will be written to the event log detailing the crash. A properly
constucted malicious string containing format string characters
will allow the execution or arbitrary code.

Vendor Response:

Initial contact: May, 2002

The vendor has made a patch available. It is not directly
downloadable. Call to request the patch. It is delivered via
email. Contact information:
software-support [URL wrapped]

@stake Recommendation:

If you have a support contract and are eligible for the patch you
should request it and install it.

If you cannot patch, you should consider host based filtering so
that only the network management systems that need to communicate
with the hosts running ePO can connect on TCP port 8081. This
requires a host based firewall.

When deploying new security products within the enterprise,
organizations should understand the risks that new security
solutions may introduce. Does the service need to be running as
the SYSTEM user? Does the service need to be accessed anonymously
from any machine?

In addition to the remote execution of arbitrary code issue there
is an information disclosure issue that can be mitigated by host
based network filtering.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Information:

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has
assigned the following names to these issues. These are candidates
for inclusion in the CVE list (, which
standardizes names for security problems.

CAN-2002-0690 McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator Format String

@stake Vulnerability Reporting Policy:

@stake Advisory Archive:

PGP Key:

@stake is currently seeking application security experts to fill
several consulting positions. Applicants should have strong
application development skills and be able to perform application
security design reviews, code reviews, and application penetration
testing. Please send resumes to [email protected]

Copyright 2003 @stake, Inc. All rights reserved.

Version: PGP 8.0 - not licensed for commercial use:


Newsletter signup

Signup to our monthly newsletter and stay in touch with IT news!

Free E-books

We've got ebooks! But they're not online. :( Please give us a few days to bring downloads back.


Have something to say or just wanna drop us a line? Please keep this in mind: to spam, we reply with spam.

Contact us »