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Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 17:25:47 -0500
From: Will Drewry <>
To:, bugtraq <>,
Subject: [oCERT-2009-016] Poppler, xpdf integer overflow during heap 

#2009-016 Poppler, Xpdf integer overflows during heap allocation


Poppler and Xpdf are two popular open source projects for processing PDF
files.  Both projects are vulnerable to an integer overflow during heap
memory allocation when processing a PDF file.  In general, this results
in unexpected process termination.  If an application using this code is
multi-threaded (or uses a crash signal handler), it may be possible to
execute arbitrary code.

The vulnerability resides in the object stream handler.  In particular,
a multiplicative overflow occurs when a large number of embedded objects
are specified.  An overflow check was in place in the code, but it only
protected related calls to gmalloc().  The C++ object array allocation
code (new[]) is not guarded by the upper bound check and the call to
new[] does not result in an exception with gcc.  This results in bytes
being written after the valid heap allocation during object

Both software packages have released fixed versions which limit the allowed
object count to a domain specific value.

A detailed analysis by the reporter can be found in the References.

Affected version:

Poppler < 0.12.1

Xpdf < 3.02pl4

Fixed version:

Poppler >= 0.12.1

Xpdf >= 3.02pl4

Credit: vulnerability report and PoC received from
        Chris Rohlf <>.

CVE: CVE-2009-3608


2009-09-04: vulnerability report received
2009-09-17: proof of concept received from reporter
2009-09-21: impact reviewed
2009-09-29: contacted poppler maintainer
2009-09-29: vendor-sec notified
2009-09-30: vendor-sec discussion expanded to include xpdf maintainer
2009-10-02: final fix agreed upon by both maintainers
2009-10-12: CVE assigned by Tomas Hoger of RedHat
2009-10-14: fixed Xpdf released
2009-10-18: fixed Poppler released
2009-10-21: advisory published



Will Drewry <>

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