Talos Vulnerability Report


Natus Xltek EEG NeuroWorks OpenProducer Code Execution Vulnerability

April 4, 2018
CVE Number



An exploitable code execution vulnerability exists in the OpenProducer functionality of Natus Xltek NeuroWorks 8. A specially crafted network packet can cause a stack buffer overflow resulting in code execution. An attacker can send a malicious packet to trigger this vulnerability.

Tested Versions

Natus Xltek NeuroWorks 8

Product URLs


CVSSv3 Score

10.0 - CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H


CWE-121: Stack-based Buffer Overflow


Natus NeuroWorks 8 provides a networking solution for the Natus Xltek EEG products. In particular, it is used to monitor and review study data from anywhere on the network. This advisory looks into the NWStorage service bundled with NeuroWorks.

The modules used in this advisory are shown below:

0:006> lm vm Storage
start    end        module name
00400000 00471000   storage    (deferred)
	Image path: c:\Neuroworks\storage.exe
	Image name: storage.exe
	Timestamp:        Wed Nov 06 10:11:09 2013 (527A863D)
	CheckSum:         0006EC3D
	ImageSize:        00071000
	File version:
	Product version:

One of the key data structures in Neuroworks is the KeyTree. Internally, a KeyTree is a List of Lists. The List and KeyTree structs are shown below:

char opcode; // 5 for KeyTree, 4 for ItemList
int num_elements ; // Number of elements in this KeyTree
Item[num_elements] items; // List of elements

During the processing of the OpenProducer command, a client supplied KeyTree is parsed looking for a SlowReviewLocalPath key. This extraction is shown below:

.text:00434807                 push    offset aSlowreviewloca ; "SlowReviewLocalPath"
.text:0043480C                 mov     this, ebp
.text:0043480E                 call    esi ; CKeyTree::GetAt(char const *)  [1]
.text:00434810                 mov     this, eax
.text:00434812                 call    ds:CItem::AsCStr(char const *)   [2]
.text:00434818                 mov     bl, 9
.text:0043481A                 mov     byte ptr [esp+368h+var_4], bl
.text:00434821                 lea     this, [esp+368h+stLocalPath]
.text:00434825                 call    ds:ATL::CSimpleStringT<char,1>::GetLength(void)   [3]

The actual item is returned, [1] and cast into a C string, [2]. Finally its length is checked to be non zero to ensure there is data to be processed, [3]. This data is then passed through a combination of splitpath and makepath shown below.

.text:004348C2                 lea     this, [esp+36Ch+fname]   [4]
.text:004348C9                 push    this            ; Filename
.text:004348CA                 lea     this, [esp+370h+stLocalPath]
.text:004348CE                 call    ds:ATL::CSimpleStringT<char,1>::operator char const *(void)
.text:004348D4                 push    eax             ; Dir
.text:004348D5                 lea     edx, [esp+374h+filename]   [5]
.text:004348D9                 push    0               ; Drive
.text:004348DB                 push    edx             ; Path
.text:004348DC                 call    ds:__imp___makepath

The resulting Makepath call will put the entire filename into the filename local variable, [5]. However the user supplied string, [4], is not checked to ensure it does not overstep this boundary. This results in a stack based buffer overflow and an exception triggered. Due to the overflow, the exception handlers have been overwritten giving direct control of the program.

Crash Information

(abc.668): Access violation - code c0000005 (first chance)
First chance exceptions are reported before any exception handling.
This exception may be expected and handled.
eax=00000000 ebx=00000000 ecx=deadbeef edx=77f06d8d esi=00000000 edi=00000000
eip=deadbeef esp=0012f298 ebp=0012f2b8 iopl=0         nv up ei pl zr na pe nc
cs=001b  ss=0023  ds=0023  es=0023  fs=003b  gs=0000             efl=00010246
deadbeef ??              ???


2017-07-15 - Initial Contact
2017-10-06 - Vendor Acknowledged
2018-04-04 - Public Release


Discovered by Cory Duplantis and Tyler Bohan of Cisco Talos.