CERT Advisory: Interbase and Firebird
Jan 11, 2001, 08:03 (5 Talkback[s])
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 15:11:10 -0500 (EST)
From: CERT Advisory
Organization: CERT(R) Coordination Center - +1 412-268-7090
Subject: CERT Advisory CA-2001-01
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CERT Advisory CA-2001-01 Interbase Server Contains Compiled-in Back
Original release date: January 10, 2001
Last revised: --
A complete revision history is at the end of this file.
* Borland/Inprise Interbase 4.x and 5.x
* Open source Interbase 6.0 and 6.01
* Open source Firebird 0.9-3 and earlier
Interbase is an open source database package that had previously
been distributed in a closed source fashion by Borland/Inprise. Both
the open and closed source verisions of the Interbase server contain
a compiled-in back door account with a known password.
Interbase is an open source database package that is distributed
by Borland/Inprise at http://www.borland.com/interbase/ and on
SourceForge. The Firebird Project, an alternate Interbase package,
is also distributed on SourceForge. The Interbase server for both
distributions contains a compiled-in back door account with a fixed,
easily located plaintext password. The password and account are
contained in source code and binaries previously made available at
the following sites:
This back door allows any local user or remote user able to access
port 3050/tcp [gds_db] to manipulate any database object on the
system. This includes the ability to install trapdoors or other
trojan horse software in the form of stored procedures. In addition,
if the database software is running with root privileges, then any
file on the server's file system can be overwritten, possibly
leading to execution of arbitrary commands as root.
This vulnerability was not introduced by unauthorized
modifications to the original vendor's source. It was introduced by
maintainers of the code within Borland. The back door account
password cannot be changed using normal operational commands, nor
can the account be deleted from existing vulnerable servers [see
This vulnerability has been assigned the identifier CAN-2001-0008
by the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) group:
The CERT/CC has not received reports of this back door being
exploited at the current time. We do recommend, however, that all
affected sites and redistributors of Interbase products or services
follow the recommendations suggested in Section III, as soon as
possible due to the seriousness of this issue.
Any local user or remote user able to access port 3050/tcp
[gds_db] can manipulate any database object on the system. This
includes the ability to install trapdoors or other trojan horse
software in the form of stored procedures. In addition, if the
database software is running with root privileges, then any file on
the server's file system can be overwritten, possibly leading to
execution of arbitrary commands as root.
Apply a vendor-supplied patch
Both Borland and The Firebird Project on SourceForge have
published fixes for this problem. Appendix A contains information
provided by vendors supplying these fixes. We will update the
appendix as we receive more information. If you do not see your
vendor's name, the CERT/CC did not hear from that vendor. Please
contact your vendor directly.
Users who are more comfortable making their own changes in source
code may find the new code available on SourceForge useful as well:
Block access to port 3050/tcp
This will not, however, prevent local users or users within a
firewall's adminstrative boundary from accessing the back door
account. In addition, the port the Interbase server listens on may
be changed dynamically at startup.
Appendix A. Vendor Information
The Firebird project uncovered serious security problems with
InterBase. The problems are fixed in Firebird build 0.9.4 for all
platforms. If you are running either InterBase V6 or Firebird
0.9.3, you should upgrade to Firebird 0.9.4.
These security holes affect all version of InterBase shipped since
1994, on all platforms.
For those who can not upgrade, Jim Starkey developed a patch
program that will correct the more serious problems in any version
of InterBase on any platform. IBPhoenix chose to release the program
without charge, given the nature of the problem and our relationship
to the community.
At the moment, name service is not set up to the machine that is
hosting the patch, so you will have to use the IP number both for
the initial contact and for the ftp download.
To start, point your browser at
The referenced database package is not packaged with Mac OS X or
Mac OS X Server.
Fujitsu's UXP/V operating system is not affected by this problem
because we don't support the relevant database.
1. VU#247371: Borland/Inprise Interbase SQL database server
contains backdoor superuser account with known password CERT/CC,
Author: This document was written by Jeffrey S Havrilla. Feedback
on this advisory is appreciated.
This document is available from:
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January 10, 2001: Initial release