OpenJPEG zero-day flaw leads to remote code execution

The newly-discovered bug gives attackers the chance to execute code through the open-source JPEG 2000 codec.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Cisco Talos researchers have uncovered a severe zero-day flaw in the OpenJPEG JPEG 2000 codec which could lead to remote code execution on compromised systems.

On Friday, researchers from Cisco revealed the existence of the zero-day flaw in the JPEG 2000 image file format parser implemented in OpenJPEG library. The out-of-bounds vulnerability, assigned as CVE-2016-8332, could allow an out-of-bound heap write to occur resulting in heap corruption and arbitrary code execution.

OpenJPEG is an open-source JPEG 2000 codec. Written in C, the software was created to promote JPEG 2000, an image compression standard which is in popular use and is often used for tasks including embedding images within PDF documents through software including Poppler, MuPDF and Pdfium.

The bug, assigned a CVSS score of 7.5, was caused by errors in parsing mcc records in the jpeg2000 file, resulting in "an erroneous read and write of adjacent heap area memory." If manipulated, these errors can lead to heap metadata process memory corruption.

In a security advisory, the team said the security vulnerability can be exploited by attackers if victims open specifically crafted, malicious JPEG 2000 images. For example, if this content was within a phishing email or hosted on legitimate services such as Google Drive or Dropbox, once downloaded to their system, the path is created for attackers to execute code remotely.

The vulnerability was discovered by Aleksander Nikolic from the Cisco Talos security team in OpenJpeg openjp2 version 2.1.1.

Cisco Talos disclosed the vulnerability to affected vendors on 26 July, granting them time to prepare patches to fix the problem before public release.

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