Security Experts:

Code Execution, DoS Vulnerabilities Found in FreeRADIUS

Security testing of FreeRADIUS using a technique known as fuzzing revealed more than a dozen issues, including vulnerabilities that can be exploited for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and remote code execution.

Researcher Guido Vranken recently discovered several flaws in OpenVPN through fuzzing, a technique that involves automatically injecting malformed or semi-malformed data into software to find implementation bugs. One of the flaws also turned out to impact FreeRADIUS, an open source implementation of RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service), a networking protocol for user authentication, authorization and accounting.

After patching the vulnerability, the developers of FreeRADIUS, said to be the world’s most popular RADIUS server, asked Vranken to conduct fuzzing on their software.

Testing conducted by the researcher led to the discovery of 11 security issues and FreeRADIUS developers identified an additional four problems. Of the 15 weaknesses affecting versions 2 and/or 3 of the software, five cannot be exploited and six affect DHCP packet parsers. The security holes were addressed on Monday with the release of versions 2.2.10 and 3.0.15.

The list of vulnerabilities includes memory leak, out-of-bounds read, memory exhaustion, buffer overflow and other issues that can be exploited to remotely execute arbitrary code or cause a DoS condition. The flaws can be exploited by sending specially crafted packets to the targeted server.

The vulnerabilities that can be leveraged for remote code execution are CVE-2017-10984, which affects versions 3.0.0 through 3.0.14, and CVE-2017-10979, which affects versions 2.0.0 through 2.2.9. They can be exploited by sending packets with malformed WiMAX attributes.

“The short summary is that if your RADIUS server is on a private network, accessible only by managed devices, you are likely safe. If your RADIUS server is part of a roaming consortium, then anyone within that consortium can attack it. If your RADIUS server is on the public internet, then you are not following best practices, and anyone on the net can attack your systems,” FreeRADIUS maintainers explained.

They pointed out that writing secure code in C is a big challenge, which is why they have been using several static analysis tools to identify vulnerabilities. However, the fuzzing tests uncovered many flaws that were previously missed by these tools, which is why FreeRADIUS developers plan on integrating the fuzzer into all future releases of their software.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.