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RealNetworks Helix DNA Server RTSP Stack Buffer Overflow



Helix DNA Server is software that can play audio and video media in various formats and stream them over a network. It is intended as a largely free and open source digital media framework that runs on numerous operating systems. The Helix DNA Server can support various formats including RealVideo, RealAudio, and MP3.


Remote exploitation of a stack buffer overflow vulnerability in RealNetworks Inc.'s Helix DNA Server could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the affected service.

The Helix DNA Server contains a vulnerability that can be triggered by an unauthenticated attacker. The vulnerability results due to the parsing of a certain type of Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) request specifying a large string. The vulnerable function may perform a copy operation that results in the bounds of a stack buffer to be overflown.


Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary code with the privileges of the affected service. In order to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to be able to create a TCP connection to port 554 on the targeted server. No authentication is required.


Helix Server and Helix Mobile Server versions 12.x, 13.x and 14.x are vulnerable.


iDefense is currently unaware of any workarounds for this issue.


RealNetworks has released a patch which addresses this issue. Information about downloadable vendor updates can be found by clicking on the URLs shown.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2010-4596 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


11/17/2010 Initial Contact
12/03/2010 Initial Response
03/31/2010 Coordinated public disclosure.


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by defrost.

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