Mu Dynamics, Inc. Security Advisories MU-201202-01 and MU-201202-02 for GnuTLS and Libtasn1

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Wed Mar 21 00:40:02 CET 2012

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Mu Dynamics, Inc. Security Advisories MU-201202-01 and MU-201202-02 for GnuTLS and Libtasn1

TLS record handling vulnerability in GnuTLS [MU-201202-01]
ASN.1 length decoding vulnerability in Libtasn1 [MU-201202-02]

20 March 2012

Affected Products/Versions:

* libgnutls up to 3.0.16.
* libtasn1 up to 2.11.

Product Overview:

GnuTLS is an open source implementation of SSL, TLS and DTLS, with APIs for 
encrypted network communications, along with X.509, PKCS #12, OpenPGP, and 
other security data types.


Details for TLS record handling vulnerability in GnuTLS [MU-201202-01]:

The block cipher decryption logic in GnuTLS assumed that a record containing 
any data which was a multiple of the block size was valid for further 
decryption processing, leading to a heap corruption vulnerability.

The bug can be reproduced in GnuTLS 3.0.14 by creating a corrupt 
GenericBlockCipher struct with a valid IV, while everything else is stripped 
off the end, while the handshake message length retains its original value:

struct {
    opaque IV[SecurityParameters.record_iv_length];
    // corrupt: below items not sent
    block-ciphered struct {
        opaque content[TLSCompressed.length];
        opaque MAC[SecurityParameters.mac_length];
        uint8 padding[GenericBlockCipher.padding_length];
        uint8 padding_length;
} GenericBlockCipher;

This will cause a segmentation fault, when the ciphertext_to_compressed 
function tries to give decrypted data to _gnutls_auth_cipher_add_auth for HMAC 
verification, even though the data length is invalid, and it should have 
instead, before _gnutls_auth_cipher_add_auth was called.

Since the error was not returned soon enough, all of the various operations 
ciphertext_to_compressed performs: i.e. setting the IV, removing the padding, 
setting the "true" data length with the padding stripped, checking the padding 
size and padding payload and verifying HMAC could all reference undefined, 
unallocated, or uninitialized memory.

There could be similar ways to reproduce this for AEAD ciphers due to the 
various flows through this code, but we did not attempt to do this, and see it 
as a topic for further investigation.

Below we trace the execution of the ciphertext_to_compressed function from 
lib/gnutls_cipher.c. The unsafe operations and missed opportunities to return 
before the heap corruption happens are marked with "***** ... *****" :

 433    static int
 434    ciphertext_to_compressed (gnutls_session_t session,
 435                              gnutls_datum_t *ciphertext, 
 436                              uint8_t * compress_data,
 437                              int compress_size,
 438                              uint8_t type, record_parameters_st * params, 
 439                              uint64* sequence)
 440    {
 511        case CIPHER_BLOCK:
 512          if (ciphertext->size < MAX(blocksize, tag_size) || (ciphertext->size % blocksize != 0)) ***** UNSAFE *****
 513            return gnutls_assert_val(GNUTLS_E_UNEXPECTED_PACKET_LENGTH);
 515          /* ignore the IV in TLS 1.1+
 516           */
 517          if (explicit_iv)
 518            {
 519              _gnutls_auth_cipher_setiv(&params->read.cipher_state,
 520                ciphertext->data, blocksize);
 522              ciphertext->size -= blocksize;
 523              ciphertext->data += blocksize;
 525              if (ciphertext->size == 0) ***** UNSAFE *****
 526                {
 527                  gnutls_assert ();
 528                  return GNUTLS_E_DECRYPTION_FAILED;
 529                }
 530            }
 537          if ((ret =
 538               _gnutls_cipher_decrypt (&params->read.cipher_state.cipher,
 539                 ciphertext->data, ciphertext->size)) < 0)
 540            return gnutls_assert_val(ret);
 542          pad = ciphertext->data[ciphertext->size - 1] + 1;   /* pad */
 544          if ((int) pad > (int) ciphertext->size - tag_size)
 545            {
 546              gnutls_assert ();
 547              _gnutls_record_log
 548                ("REC[%p]: Short record length %d > %d - %d (under attack?)\n",
 549                 session, pad, ciphertext->size, tag_size); ***** Message Appears During The Attack *****
 550              /* We do not fail here. We check below for the
 551               * the pad_failed. If zero means success.
 552               */
 553              pad_failed = GNUTLS_E_DECRYPTION_FAILED; ***** Execution Continues Anyway *****
 554              pad %= blocksize;
 555            }
 557          length = ciphertext->size - tag_size - pad;
 559          /* Check the padding bytes (TLS 1.x) */
 577          /* Pass the type, version, length and compressed through
 578           * MAC.
 579           */
 580          preamble_size =
 581            make_preamble (UINT64DATA(*sequence), type,
 582                           length, ver, preamble);
 583          ret = _gnutls_auth_cipher_add_auth (&params->read.cipher_state, preamble, preamble_size);
 584          if (ret < 0)
 585            return gnutls_assert_val(ret);
 587          ret = _gnutls_auth_cipher_add_auth (&params->read.cipher_state, ciphertext->data, length); ***** UNSAFE, crashes here *****
 588          if (ret < 0)
 589            return gnutls_assert_val(ret); ***** Crashes Before Error Is Returned *****

The segmentation fault appears as follows in GDB:

Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
0x003b9946 in _nettle_sha256_compress (state=0x807f128, 
    input=0x808f000 <Address 0x808f000 out of bounds>, k=0x3cdb60)
    at sha256-compress.c:111
111	sha256-compress.c: No such file or directory.
	in sha256-compress.c
(gdb) bt
#0  0x003b9946 in _nettle_sha256_compress (state=0x807f128, 
    input=0x808f000 <Address 0x808f000 out of bounds>, k=0x3cdb60)
    at sha256-compress.c:111
#1  0x003b961b in nettle_sha256_update (ctx=0x807f128, length=4294916861, 
    data=0x808effc "") at sha256.c:92
#2  0x003b336d in nettle_hmac_sha256_update (ctx=0x807f050, length=4294967280, 
    data=0x8082b09 '\017' <repeats 16 times>) at hmac-sha256.c:43
#3  0x0021a749 in wrap_nettle_hmac_update (_ctx=0x807f050, text=0x8082b09, 
    textsize=4294967280) at mac.c:231
#4  0x00158233 in _gnutls_hmac (handle=0x807ef9c, text=0x8082b09, 
    textlen=4294967280) at ./gnutls_hash_int.h:73
#5  0x00158b35 in _gnutls_auth_cipher_add_auth (handle=0x807ef78, 
    text=0x8082b09, textlen=-16) at gnutls_cipher_int.c:190
#6  0x001473de in ciphertext_to_compressed (session=0x807d810, 
    ciphertext=0xbfffe8a4, compress_data=0x8083da4 "", compress_size=16384, 
    type=22 '\026', params=0x807ed48, sequence=0x807efcc)
    at gnutls_cipher.c:587
#7  0x00145cdc in _gnutls_decrypt (session=0x807d810, 
    ciphertext=0x8082af9 "\252\257C/7\301\362\352h|d\275#\312\027\312", '\017' <repeats 16 times>, ciphertext_size=32, data=0x8083da4 "", max_data_size=16384, 
    type=GNUTLS_HANDSHAKE, params=0x807ed48, sequence=0x807efcc)
    at gnutls_cipher.c:159

The segmentation fault appears as follows in Valgrind Memcheck:

==29586== Invalid read of size 1
==29586==    at 0x40274B9: memcpy (mc_replace_strmem.c:497)
==29586==    by 0x42BC5A6: nettle_sha256_update (sha256.c:92)
==29586==    by 0x42B636C: nettle_hmac_sha256_update (hmac-sha256.c:43)
==29586==    by 0x411C748: wrap_nettle_hmac_update (mac.c:231)
==29586==    by 0x405A232: _gnutls_hmac (gnutls_hash_int.h:73)
==29586==    by 0x405AB34: _gnutls_auth_cipher_add_auth (gnutls_cipher_int.c:190)
==29586==    by 0x40493DD: ciphertext_to_compressed (gnutls_cipher.c:587)
==29586==    by 0x4047CDB: _gnutls_decrypt (gnutls_cipher.c:159)
==29586==  Address 0x4464411 is 0 bytes after a block of size 89 alloc'd
==29586==    at 0x4024F12: calloc (vg_replace_malloc.c:467)
==29586==    by 0x4049AE4: _mbuffer_alloc (gnutls_mbuffers.c:288)
==29586==    by 0x4049C49: _mbuffer_linearize (gnutls_mbuffers.c:349)
==29586==    by 0x40462FB: _gnutls_recv_in_buffers (gnutls_record.c:996)
==29586==    by 0x404D01C: _gnutls_handshake_io_recv_int (gnutls_buffers.c:1174)
==29586==    by 0x4050383: _gnutls_recv_handshake (gnutls_handshake.c:1260)
==29586== Invalid read of size 1
==29586==  Address 0x4464412 is 1 bytes after a block of size 89 alloc'd
==29586== Process terminating with default action of signal 11 (SIGSEGV)
==29586==  Access not within mapped region at address 0x4779000
==29586==    at 0x42BC946: _nettle_sha256_compress (sha256-compress.c:111)
==29586==    by 0x42BC61A: nettle_sha256_update (sha256.c:92)
==29586==    by 0x42B636C: nettle_hmac_sha256_update (hmac-sha256.c:43)
==29586==    by 0x411C748: wrap_nettle_hmac_update (mac.c:231)
==29586==    by 0x405A232: _gnutls_hmac (gnutls_hash_int.h:73)
==29586==    by 0x405AB34: _gnutls_auth_cipher_add_auth (gnutls_cipher_int.c:190)
==29586==    by 0x40493DD: ciphertext_to_compressed (gnutls_cipher.c:587)
Segmentation fault

Details for ASN.1 length decoding vulnerability in Libtasn1 [MU-201202-02]:

Various functions using the ASN.1 length decoding logic in Libtasn1 were 
incorrectly assuming that the return value from asn1_get_length_der is always 
less than the length of the enclosing ASN.1 structure, which is only true for 
valid structures and not for intentionally corrupt or otherwise buggy 

Here is an example of unsafe asn1_get_length_der usage from 
lib/minitasn1/decoding.c, in the asn1_der_decoding function:

0812    asn1_retCode
0813    asn1_der_decoding (ASN1_TYPE * element, const void *ider, int len,
0814                       char *errorDescription)
0815    {
1033                case TYPE_ENUMERATED:
1034                  len2 =
1035                    asn1_get_length_der (der + counter, len - counter, &len3);
1036                  if (len2 < 0)
1037                    return ASN1_DER_ERROR;
1038                  if (len2 + len3 > len - counter)
1039                    return ASN1_DER_ERROR;
1040                  _asn1_set_value (p, der + counter, len3 + len2);
1041                  counter += len3 + len2;
1042                  move = RIGHT;
1043                  break;

The above call to asn1_get_length_der was returning an impossibly large value 
of 2GB when the Mu analyzer generated corrupt lengths fields for versions, 
serial numbers, public key info, and signature structures in X.509 client 
certificates, but this could happen in any use of Libtasn1 that is relying 
upon asn1_get_length_der, not just SSL, TLS, or GnuTLS.

The asn1_der_decoding function failed to check for cases when 
asn1_get_length_der returned a length larger than the enclosing structure's 
(void* ider) own length (int len).

When _asn1_set_value was called anyway, it contained a memcpy operation which 
assumed the arguments are valid, which tried copy 2GB of memory, leading to a 
heap corruption vulnerability.

Simon Josefsson, Libtasn1 maintainer, described the patch as follows: "the 
real bug was not in asn1_get_length_der() even if that is the function we 
patch[ed]. The callers of that function that did not check that the return 
values are sane were buggy. However, instead of fixing all callers, ... we 
went for the simpler solution to let the function return an error for a 
situation that is unlikely to occur without malicious interaction or data 

The asn1_der_decoding function shown above is now safe, because 
asn1_get_length_der was updated to "[return] -4 when the decoded length value 
plus @len would exceed @der_len," so asn1_der_decoding returns ASN1_DER_ERROR 
before it can call _asn1_set_value to trigger the segmentation fault.

Abbreviated GDB Backtrace after the segmentation fault:

(gdb) bt
#0  __memcpy_ia32 () at ../sysdeps/i386/i686/multiarch/../memcpy.S:75
#1  0x00000001 in ?? ()
#2  0x0020eadc in _asn1_set_value (node=0x807ff50, value=0x807ed5c, 
    len=2147483652) at parser_aux.c:228
#3  0x0020a646 in asn1_der_decoding (element=0x8078000, ider=0x807ed4e, 
    len=687, errorDescription=0x0) at decoding.c:1036
#4  0x001bc7da in gnutls_x509_crt_import (cert=0x8078000, data=0xbfffeae8, 
    format=GNUTLS_X509_FMT_DER) at x509.c:226
#5  0x00176d16 in gnutls_pcert_import_x509_raw (pcert=0x807d610, 
    cert=0xbfffeae8, format=GNUTLS_X509_FMT_DER, flags=0) at gnutls_pcert.c:201

Response / Solution:

TLS record handling vulnerability in GnuTLS [MU-201202-01] is fixed in GnuTLS 
3.0.15. For more details, see .

ASN.1 length decoding vulnerability in Libtasn1 [MU-201202-02] is fixed in 
Libtasn1 2.12 and GnuTLS 3.0.16. For more details, see and .


Mon, 27 Feb 2012 14:13:45 -0800: TLS Record handling issue reported.
Tue, 28 Feb 2012 10:29:46 +0100: TLS Record handling patch created.
Fri, 02 Mar 2012 18:42:05 +0000: GnuTLS 3.0.15 release announced.
Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:04:31 -0800: ASN.1 length decoding issue reported.
Wed, 14 Mar 2012 01:04:36 +0100: ASN.1 length decoding patch created.
Mon, 19 Mar 2012 10:57:42 +0100: Libtasn1 2.12 release announced.
Tue, 20 Mar 2012 23:40:00 +0000: Advisory released to the public.

See also:;a=commitdiff;h=b495740f2ff66550ca9395b3fda3ea32c3acb185;a=commitdiff;h=6e534bf4fb3144be51c928ed3efcf9c36055c9c7


These vulnerabilities were discovered by Matthew Hall <mhall at>, 
Senior Network Protocol Software Engineer at Mu Dynamics, via code inspection 
and protocol fuzzing using a Mu 4000 security analyzer.

Mu Dynamics is the leading provider of solutions ensuring the performance and 
security of both applications and network infrastructure. The company's 
innovative solutions enable customers to confidently meet the challenges posed 
by today's rapidly changing networks. This includes the ever-growing number of 
applications and devices on the network, and the swift transition to mobile, 
virtual and cloud environments. Hundreds of service providers, enterprises, 
application developers and network equipment manufacturers count on its 
purpose-built solutions, like Mu Studio and Blitz, to ensure their 
applications and networks are scalable and secure. Mu Dynamics is 
headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.
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