Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

Bug Hits Popular IP-PBX Apps

Asterisk PBX and IAXclient, two of the most popular open-source VOIP applications, are vulnerable to attack

Users of two popular open-source VOIP applications could come under attack if they don't patch their software quickly, a security researcher said today.

The vulnerability could enable attackers to create buffer overflows in VOIP networks, effectively creating a denial-of-service attack on networks that use the software, according to Core Security Technologies, which discovered the threat.

Asterisk PBX, a widely used open-source application that provides private branch exchange features for VOIP networks, and IAX client, an open-source library that runs VOIP protocols for several IP software phones, are the two systems at risk. The two applications are widely used in small businesses where conventional IP-PBX software is too expensive. But Asterisk also serves as the underlying software for enterprise-level and service-provider products, such as Aspect Software's contact center application and SIPphone's Gizmo Project.

The two applications contain a design flaw in which they fail to check for malformed UDP packets, according to Ivan Arce, CTO at Core Security. "An attacker can easily create a buffer overflow by sending an abundance of packets that are too short," he says.

The open-source Asterisk group and Digium, which distributes Asterisk, have both made patches available for the vulnerability. However, like most open-source organizations, they have no automated means of distributing the patches, so they are encouraging users to come to them quickly for the updates.

Unpatched, the vulnerability could be serious for VOIP environments, because it is relatively easy to exploit. "If you're supporting VOIP, you have to let these [short] packets pass or risk losing service," Arce says. The Asterisk group agrees, stating that the vulnerability could lead to "random Asterisk server crashes via a relatively trivial exploit."

The vulnerability report deals another blow to VOIP security, which was rocked last week when two men were charged with stealing and reselling VOIP service from 15 service providers. (See Two Charged in VOIP Hacking Scandal.)

"I expect we'll see a lot more vulnerabilities like this in VOIP before we're through," Arce said. "VOIP is no different from any other IP traffic, and it is still relatively new. There will be a lot of bugs to work out."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this story

  • Aspect Software
  • Asterisk organization
  • Core Security Technologies
  • Digium Inc.
  • SIPphone Inc.

    Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
    Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
    Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
    Tor Weaponized to Steal Bitcoin
    Dark Reading Staff 10/18/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
    This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
    Flash Poll
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-18218
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    cdf_read_property_info in cdf.c in file through 5.37 does not restrict the number of CDF_VECTOR elements, which allows a heap-based buffer overflow (4-byte out-of-bounds write).
    CVE-2019-18217
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    ProFTPD before 1.3.6b and 1.3.7rc before 1.3.7rc2 allows remote unauthenticated denial-of-service due to incorrect handling of overly long commands because main.c in a child process enters an infinite loop.
    CVE-2019-16862
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    Reflected XSS in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of a user's session via the pid parameter.
    CVE-2019-17409
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    Reflected XSS exists in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 ia the id parameter.
    CVE-2019-10715
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    There is Stored XSS in Verodin Director before 3.5.4.0 via input fields of certain tooltips, and on the Tags, Sequences, and Actors pages.