Flaws in Oracle file processing SDKs affect major third-party products

Eighteen flaws in Oracle's Outside In Technology also impact enterprise software products from other vendors

Seventeen high-risk vulnerabilities out of the 276 flaws fixed by Oracle Tuesday affect products from third-party software vendors, including Microsoft.

The vulnerabilities were found by researchers from Cisco's Talos team and are located in the Oracle Outside In Technology (OIT), a collection of software development kits (SDKs) that can be used to extract, normalize, scrub, convert and view some 600 unstructured file formats.

These SDKs, which are part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware, are licensed to other software developers who then use them in their own products. Such products include Microsoft Exchange, Novell Groupwise, IBM WebSphere Portal, Google Search Appliance, Avira AntiVir for Exchange, Raytheon SureView, Guidance Encase and Veritas Enterprise Vault.

Oracle did not list the third-party products that are affected. However, an advisory from the CERT Coordination Center about several similar vulnerabilities in Oracle OIT that were patched in January comes with a long list of affected products from many large software vendors.

It's not clear how many of those products are also affected by the newly patched seventeen flaws, because some of them might not use all of the vulnerable SDKs or might include other limiting factors.

Oracle assigned a score of 8.6 in the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to the flaws, which means a high severity rating. However, the score was calculated on the assumption that the affected software passes data received over a network directly to the vulnerable OIT code, which might not happen in all cases.

Where this is true, attackers can exploit the flaws to execute rogue code on systems by sending specifically crafted content to applications using the vulnerable OIT SDKs.

The Cisco researchers confirmed that Microsoft Exchange servers (version 2013 and earlier) are affected if they have the WebReady Document Viewing enabled. According to Microsoft documentation, this feature lets users view common file types like .doc, .pdf, .ppt and .xls directly in the Outlook Web App web browser.

"An attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities by sending a malicious email attachment to a victim who then opens the email using web preview," the Cisco Talos researchers said in a blog post. "Further, if Data Loss Prevention is enabled, the vulnerability can be triggered simply by sending an email with a malicious attachment outbound from the affected Exchange server."

If a Microsoft Exchange server also has the Avira AntiVir for Exchange installed, the vulnerabilities can be exploited by simply sending a specially crafted email without the victim even opening it. That's because this antivirus program also uses the vulnerable OIT SDKs and scans all incoming and outgoing email automatically.

File formats can be very complex and processing them without proper validation has historically been a source of remote code execution vulnerabilities in all sorts of applications. Understandably, many software developers rely on third-party SDKs and libraries for parsing file and data formats, instead of implementing such functionality themselves, a task that would be time consuming and prone to error.

"However, the unfortunate reality is that vulnerabilities that are found in an SDK that is utilized by third-parties will take additional time to patch: First the organization that maintains the SDK issues a fix, and some amount of time later, third-parties that utilize the SDK provide an update to their customers including these fixes," the Cisco researchers said. "This provides a rather large window of time in which miscreants can exploit vulnerabilities in third-party products."

At a time when over 80 percent of any new software application consists of third-party code, tracking vulnerabilities in outside libraries is very important. Unfortunately, studies show that many software developers not only fail at this task, but don't even have a clear picture of which third-party components they used in which of their applications.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?