Multiple buffer overflows on Huawei SNMPv3 service

Advisory Information
Title: Multiple buffer overflows on Huawei SNMPv3 service
Discovery date: 11/02/2013
Release date: 06/05/2013
Credits: Roberto Paleari, Emaze Networks S.p.A (@rpaleari)

Vulnerability Information
Class: Memory errors

Affected Products
We confirm the presence of these security vulnerabilities on the following products:
  • Huawei AR1220 (firmware version V200R002C02SPC121T)
According to Huawei security advisories [2,3] other products are also vulnerable, but they were not checked.

Vulnerability Details
The Huawei SNMPv3 service running on the affected devices is vulnerable to multiple stack-based buffer overflow issues. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by unauthenticated remote attackers.

The issues concern Huawei implementation of the SNMPv3 User-based Security Model (USM [1]). Strictly speaking, attackers can overflow the AuthoritativeEngineID and UserName SNMPv3 USM fields.

The vulnerabilities we identified can be classified according to the exploitation context: some issues can be triggered only when SNMP  debugging is enabled, while others are exploitable in the default device configuration.

The first class of issues can be exploited only when SNMP debugging is  enabled, as they are related with the debugging code that displays the content of incoming SNMP packets. Attackers can leverage these issues to  achieve RCE, but the actual impact is quite low, as SNMP debugging is usually disabled during normal operation.

The second class of vulnerabilities affects the SNMPv3 packet decoder. Differently than the previous ones, these issues can be exploited in the default device configuration. Additionally, it is worth considering that ACLs are ineffective at mitigating this threat, as SNMPv3 packets are processed by the device even if the sender's IP is not included in the ACL. Similarly, the vulnerabilities can be exploited even when no SNMPv3 users are configured.

In the following we include a "proof-of-concept" that exploit the latter category. Our PoC simply crashes the device, but the payload can probably  be also adapted to achieve RCE.

This Python example crashes the device by overflowing the UserName SNMPv3 USM field. Consider we used a slightly  modified version of Python Scapy library to properly support the SNMPv3 protocol. The complete Python script and the modified Scapy library can be provided upon request.

from scapy.all import *

def main():
    DST = ""

    snmp = SNMPv3(version=3)
    pkt = IP(dst=DST)/UDP(sport=RandShort(), dport=161)/snmp
    pkt = snmpsetauth(pkt, "emaze", "MD5")
    pkt["SNMPv3"].flags = 4

    # Replace "user_name" with "auth_engine_id" in the next line to trigger the
    # other overflow
    pkt["SNMPv3"].security.user_name = "A"*4096

if __name__ == "__main__":

The device manufacturer has released updated firmware versions that should remediate these issues. Huawei security advisories are available at [2,3].

Copyright(c) Emaze Networks S.p.A. 2013, All rights reserved worldwide. Permission is hereby granted to redistribute this advisory, providing that no changes are made and that the copyright notices and disclaimers remain intact.

Emaze Networks S.p.A. is not responsible for the misuse of the information provided in our security advisories. These advisories are a service to the professional security community. There are NO WARRANTIES with regard to this information. Any application or distribution of this information constitutes acceptance AS IS, at the user's own risk. This information is subject to change without notice.



  1. Would you be willing to provide the scapy SNMPv3 code or commit your modifications back to the scapy project directly?

  2. hmm...the python script is not working..