CVE-2023-5869: PostgreSQL Array Modification Flaw Opens Door to Arbitrary Code Execution
PostgreSQL, a beacon of reliability and performance in the realm of open-source relational database management systems (RDBMS), recently encountered turbulent waters. Despite its reputation for robustness and SQL compliance, three new vulnerabilities have emerged, posing significant risks.
CVE-2023-5868: Memory disclosure in aggregate function calls
First on our list is CVE-2023-5868, with a CVSS v3 Base Score of 4.3. This vulnerability, present in versions 11 through 16 of PostgreSQL, involves memory disclosure in specific aggregate function calls. When these functions receive ‘unknown’-type arguments, often derived from untyped string literals, they inadvertently disclose server memory bytes. This leakage extends from the end of the ‘unknown’-type value to the next zero byte. While direct exploitation scenarios remain unconfirmed, the potential exposure of sensitive information cannot be ignored.
CVE-2023-5869: Buffer overrun from integer overflow in array modification
Next, CVE-2023-5869, scoring an alarming 8.8 on the CVSS scale, highlights a more severe threat. This buffer overrun issue arises from an integer overflow during array modifications. Authenticated users can exploit this flaw to write arbitrary bytes to critical memory areas, potentially leading to arbitrary code execution. Moreover, this vulnerability allows the reading of extensive server memory areas. Previous fixes, such as CVE-2021-32027, addressed similar issues but missed this particular variant, underlining the complexity of database security.
CVE-2023-5870: Role pg_signal_backend can signal certain superuser processes
Our final concern, CVE-2023-5870, with a lower score of 2.2, involves the pg_signal_backend role. Contrary to documentation claims, this role can signal backend processes, including those owned by superusers. Notably, it can signal background workers like the logical replication launcher and autovacuum workers. While exploiting this vulnerability might not yield significant exploits with core PostgreSQL features, it poses a threat when paired with non-core extensions, especially those with less resilient background workers.
The emergence of these vulnerabilities in PostgreSQL—a system esteemed for its reliability—serves as a stark reminder of the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity threats. For businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations relying on PostgreSQL, staying informed and promptly applying security updates is not just best practice; it’s a necessity for safeguarding their digital assets.