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             AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution

 CVE-2016-2774: An attacker who is allowed to connect to DHCP inter-server
     communications and control channels can exhaust server resources
                               8 March 2016


        AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary

Product:           DHCP
Publisher:         ISC
Operating System:  Windows
                   UNIX variants (UNIX, Linux, OSX)
Impact/Access:     Denial of Service -- Remote/Unauthenticated
Resolution:        Patch/Upgrade
CVE Names:         CVE-2016-2774  

Original Bulletin: 

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CVE-2016-2774: An attacker who is allowed to connect to DHCP inter-server 
communications and control channels can exhaust server resources

Author: Michael McNally 

Reference Number: AA-01354 

Views: 156 

Created: 2016-03-07 11:34 

Last Updated: 2016-03-08 00:31 

CVE: CVE-2016-2774

Document Version: 2.0

Posting date: 07 March 2016

Program Impacted:


Versions affected: 4.1.0->4.1-ESV-R12-P1, 4.2.0->4.2.8, 4.3.0->4.3.3-P1. Older
versions may also be affected but are well beyond their end-of-life (EOL). 
Releases prior to 4.1.0 have not been tested.



Exploitable: Remotely, if remote network connections to the DHCP server's 
control ports (e.g. OMAPI and failover) are permitted.


In many cases, the ISC DHCP server does not effectively limit the number of 
simultaneous open TCP connections to the ports the server uses for 
inter-process communications and control. Because of this, a malicious party 
could interfere with server operation by opening (and never closing) a large 
number of TCP connections to the server.


By exploiting this vulnerability an attacker can interfere with DHCP server 
operation. Exact results are difficult to summarize concisely because the 
effect of an attack varies depending on server version, the channel being 
attacked, and in some operating systems on environment settings inherited from
the launching shell (e.g. "ulimit" settings on per-process open file 
descriptors) but depending on the combination potential undesirable outcomes 
include (but are not necessarily limited to):

The server may deliberately exit after encountering an INSIST failure (server
version dependent).

The server may become unresponsive and stop answering client requests.

The server may continue operating but not be able to accept further 
connections from OMAPI clients or failover peers.

If no limits are inherited from the environment, the server may consume all 
available sockets, potentially interfering with other services running on the
same machine.

Risk of exploitation is highest on the OMAPI port (if OMAPI is configured). 
The failover code will close incoming connections if they are not received 
from a peer (making it more difficult but not impossible to attack a server 
using failover channels). OMAPI, however, has no logic in the server limiting
addresses from which it will accept connections. A firewall is recommended as
an industry-standard precaution against accepting connections from untrusted 

CVSS Score: 5.7

CVSS Vector: (AV:A/AC:M/Au:N/C:N/I:N/A:C)

For more information on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System and to obtain
your specific environmental score please visit: 


ISC recommends that server operators restrict the hosts allowed to make 
connections to DHCP server inter-process communication channels to trusted 
hosts, blocking connections to the OMAPI control port and the failover 
communications ports from all other hosts.

If OMAPI and/or failover are not being actively used, they can be disabled. 
The ISC Knowledge Base contains some information that operators may find 




Additionally, in environments where per-process file descriptor limits can be
inherited from the shell used to launch dhcpd, using ulimit to set a 
reasonable limit on simultaneous socket connections can prevent the INSIST 
assertion failure outcome but may still allow interference with legitimate 
interprocess communication traffic.

Active exploits:

No known active exploits, but a public mention of the issue has occurred on an
open mailing list.


Mitigation code which will make this vulnerability harder to exploit will be 
added to the upcoming DHCP maintenance releases (DHCP 4.1-ESV-R13, DHCP 4.3.4,
due to be released in March 2016.)

However, the strategies described in the "Workarounds" section of this 
document are effective and can prevent exploitation of the vulnerability. 
Unless server operators have identified operational needs unique to their 
environment which conflict with this advice, ISC recommends blocking incoming
TCP connections from untrusted hosts as a preferred strategy.

Acknowledgements: ISC would like to thank Konstantin Orekhov for discovering 
this vulnerability.

Document Revision History:

1.0 Advance Notification 04 March 2016

2.0 Public Disclosure 07 March 2016

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Note: ISC patches only currently supported versions. When possible we indicate
EOL versions affected. (For current information on which versions are actively
supported, please see http://www.isc.org/downloads/).

ISC Security Vulnerability Disclosure Policy: Details of our current security
advisory policy and practice can be found here: 

This Knowledge Base article https://kb.isc.org/article/AA-01354 is the 
complete and official security advisory document.

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