About the JailbreakMe PDF exploit

Some days ago Comex published his JailbreakMe for the new iPhone 4 in the Defcon 18. The interesting thing is that in order to root the device he used a PDF exploit for Mobile Safari to execute arbitrary code and after this another kernel vuln to gain elevated privileges. I've being taking a look at the PDF files with peepdf and these are my thoughts about it.

The PDF file itself has no many objects and only one encoded stream:

The stream is encoded with a simple FlateDecode filter, without parameters, and if we decode its content we can see this strings, related to the JailbreakMe stuff:
As this object seems to contain the vulnerability we are looking for we'll take a closer look to this stream and what this is for:
The /FontFile3 element contains an embedded font program or font file and the /Type1C subtype means that the font file is represented in the Compact Font Format (CFF), described in this document.

If we make a diff between the first decoded bytes of two different PDF files we can see that the differences start in the section marked in green and that it's the CharStrings Index.

This element of the CFF contains the charstrings of the charset in the described font. The data is stored in an INDEX CFF structure. Because the CharstringType is not defined in the preceded bytes it will be Type 2, the default value. Again this format has its own specification telling that these bytes can contain numbers or operators depending on the first byte of each field. This format uses an argument stack, when a number appears it's stored in the stack. The operators take the arguments from there too, leaving the possible result on the top.

Although I've not read the full specification yet, I think that  this vulnerability is related to a kind of overflow in the Type 2 argument stack and not to the FlateDecode filter itself. At the moment there's no available patch so it's recommended some type of mitigation and to be careful with the visited links.

Update (2010-08-06):

Thanks to a message in the Full Disclosure list  I've known that the very next day I published this post a patch was released (not for Apple products yet). The diff shows that the bug was in the arguments stack, not checking the end of it after operators execution.



interesante! sacarás una segunda entrada confirmando si tu teoría del BOF es cierta?

Claro, claro...


Of course! reafirmando o reculando, según el caso ;) Eso sí, no se cuándo...;)

Un saludo!

PDF analysis tool

What tools are you using here to analyize the pdf?



This is a tool I'm developing, PDFSpyHole (even the name is not clear). I hope I can release a version on August or September (without modification capabilities...). I'll post it here and on twitter ;)


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.