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Security Advisory - Deployment Solution Vulnerability Issues (Multiple)

Created: 27 Aug 2009 • Updated: 27 Aug 2009
jharings's picture
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For those of you who are security minded (in this day in age, it should be a hat we all wear, in my opinion) one of the best "knowledge aggregators" in the IT security field is
I subscribe to several of their digest emails, and when I was reading through the various topics in the Consensus Security (Vulnerability Alert Vol 8. No. 35)
today, I came across this important update (as it relates to Altiris Deployment Server):

SYM09-011 - Posted by Symantec on August 26th.

The four issues identified and addressed by installation of Deployment Server 6.9 Service Pack 3 (which incidentally was just released) are:

1) The DBManager authentication can potentially be bypassed. The DBManager is assigned a default listening port. A malicious user with authorized network access and working knowledge of the command structure of the DBManager could potentially pass unauthenticated commands remotely to this service. Successful exploitation of this issue could potentially result in the malicious user being able to modify the Altiris Database to add/remove users and access or potentially modify currently scheduled tasks which could adversely impact multiple clients. This is considered a high severity issue.
2) The Aclient GUI is not fully protected from unauthorized access. While the installation directory is protected, the Everyone user group is implemented with full control of the client executable by default. A non-privileged user could potentially use Everyone user group access to maliciously modify the client with arbitrary code. The GUI binary runs with logged on user privileges by default. Should any other privileged user log into the client, the results could be a potential elevation of privilege and compromise of the client system. This issue has a potentially high severity.
3) When using AClient agent of the Symantec Altiris Deployment Solution, an option is available to provide key-based authentication between the deployment server and a client system. Once authentication has been implemented, communications between the client and server is secure. However, there is a small window of vulnerability, just prior to the authentication handshake when authentication can potentially be bypassed, e.g., when the client system is just being booted or having to reconnect to the deployment solution server. At this point, a malicious individual on the network with access to or the ability to impersonate a deployment server could issue alternate commands to a client just prior to the handshake. If successful, the client would accept these commands as valid and implement them with SYSTEM level privileges. A malicious user, with sufficient access to the network, could potential disrupt communications between the deployment server and a client system and exploit the automatic reconnection by the client to attempt an attack of this nature. This is considered a medium severity issue.
4) The functionality of the Symantec Altiris Deployment Solution includes the ability to transfer files from the server to the deployed clients. A malicious user with network access and knowledge of the port assigned for file transfer can potentially exploit a race condition by making successive multiple connections to this port to intercept the content of these files prior to legitimate clients accessing them. Done successfully, this can result in unauthorized file access and/or a potential partial denial of service. Once the files have been downloaded from the deployment server, the server assumes they were received by an authorized client and no longer attempts to update the client with those updates.


It should be noted that the issue is considered a 'low to high' security threat, and an upgrade to Deployment Solution should never be taken lightly. Always consult the release notes and follow the upgrade installation instructions as listed in: Altiris KB Article 47793.