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Citrix Access Gateway ActiveX Stack Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



Citrix's Access Gateway solution provides remote access to customers via the Web browser. This is accomplished through the use of an ActiveX control that enables an SSL based VPN. The control itself is provided by the server upon connecting. Access Gateway functionality is provided by several models of Access Gateway Appliances. For more information, visit the URL referenced below.


Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow in Citrix Systems, Inc.'s Access Gateway Client ActiveX control allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code.

The vulnerability exists within the ActiveX control with the following identifiers:

 CLSID: 181BCAB2-C89B-4E4B-9E6B-59FA67A426B5 ProgId: NSEPA.NsepaCtrl.1 File: %WINDIR%Downloaded Program Filesnsepa.ocx 

When processing HTTP header data provided by the Access Gateway server, the client ActiveX control copies a variable length string into a fixed-size stack buffer. Due to insufficient input validation, a trivially exploitable stack-based buffer overflow can occur.


Exploitation allows attackers to execute arbitrary code in the context of the currently logged-on user. To exploit this vulnerability, a targeted user must load a malicious Web page created by an attacker. An attacker typically accomplishes this via social engineering or injecting content into compromised, trusted sites.

Additionally, a targeted user must have this control already installed or must accept several warning prompts at the time that the attack is taking place. This control is not on the white list included with Internet Explorer 7.0. More information can be found at the following URL.

This particular control also has an additional prompt inquiring whether or not the user wishes to allow an "Endpoint Analysis" scan. The options presented are "Yes", "No", and "Always Allow". Clicking "Yes" or "Always Allow" can lead to exploitation. Clicking "No" can not result in exploitation. Also, clicking "Always Allow" will create a registry key enabling automatic scanning for all future uses of the control.


The following versions of Citrix Access Gateway Enterprise Edition are vulnerable:

  • Version 8.1 prior to 8.1-67.7
  • Version 9.0 prior to 9.0-70.5
  • Version 9.1 prior to 9.1-96.4


Setting the kill-bit for this control will prevent it from being loaded within Internet Explorer. However, doing so will prevent legitimate use of the control.


Citrix has released a patch which addresses this issue. Information about downloadable vendor updates can be found by clicking on the URLs shown. 5


A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not been assigned yet.


07/01/2009 Initial Vendor Notification
07/02/2009 Initial Vendor Reply
07/14/2011 Coordinated Public Disclosure


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by Michal Trojnara.

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Copyright © 2011 Verisign, Inc.

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