High Nessus Plugin ID 21723
SynopsisThe remote host is missing a vendor-supplied security patch
DescriptionThe remote host is missing the patch for the advisory SUSE-SA:2006:030 (postgresql).
Two character set encoding related security problems were fixed in the PostgreSQL database server:
Akio Ishida and Yasuo Ohgaki discovered a weakness in the handling of invalidly-encoded multibyte text data. If a client application processed untrusted input without respecting its encoding and applied standard string escaping techniques (such as replacing a single quote >>'<< with >>\'<< or >>''<<), the PostgreSQL server could interpret the resulting string in a way that allowed an attacker to inject arbitrary SQL commands into the resulting SQL query. The PostgreSQL server has been modified to reject such invalidly encoded strings now, which completely fixes the problem for some 'safe' multibyte encodings like UTF-8.
However, there are some less popular and client-only multibyte encodings (such as SJIS, BIG5, GBK, GB18030, and UHC) which contain valid multibyte characters that end with the byte 0x5c, which is the representation of the backslash character >>\<< in ASCII. Many client libraries and applications use the non-standard, but popular way of escaping the >>'<< character by replacing all occurrences of it with >>\'<<. If a client application uses one of the affected encodings and does not interpret multibyte characters, and an attacker supplies a specially crafted byte sequence as an input string parameter, this escaping method would then produce a validly-encoded character and an excess >>'<< character which would end the string. All subsequent characters would then be interpreted as SQL code, so the attacker could execute arbitrary SQL commands.
To fix this vulnerability end-to-end, client-side applications must be fixed to properly interpret multibyte encodings and use >>''<< instead of >>\'<<. However, as a precautionary measure, the sequence >>\'<< is now regarded as invalid when one of the affected client encodings is in use. If you depend on the previous behavior, you can restore it by setting 'backslash_quote = on' in postgresql.conf. However, please be aware that this could render you vulnerable again.
This issue does not affect you if you only use single-byte (like SQL_ASCII or the ISO-8859-X family) or unaffected multibyte (like UTF-8) encodings.
Please see http://www.postgresql.org/docs/techdocs.50 for further details.
Unfortunately we are not yet able to provide back ported patches for the PostgreSQL included in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 at this time. We are working on a solution for this problem.