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PEAR XML_RPC Library Remote Code Execution
July 01, 2022
Vendor : The PEAR Group
Version : PEAR XML_RPC 1.3.0 && Earlier
Risk : Remote Code Execution

PEAR XML_RPC is a PHP implementation of the XML-RPC web RPC protocol, and used by many different developers across the world. PEAR XML_RPC was originally developed by Edd Dumbill of Useful Information Company, but has since been expanded by several individuals. Unfortunately PEAR XML_RPC is vulnerable to a remote php code execution vulnerability that may allow for an attacker to compromise a vulnerable server. Version 1.3.1 has been released to address these issues.

Remote Command Execution:
PEAR XML_RPC is vulnerable to a very high risk php code injection vulnerability due to unsanatized data being passed into an eval() call. Let us have a look at the code that allows the vulnerability to present itself.
// decompose incoming XML into request structure
xml_parser_set_option($parser_resource, XML_OPTION_CASE_FOLDING, true);
xml_set_element_handler($parser_resource, 'XML_RPC_se', 'XML_RPC_ee');
xml_set_character_data_handler($parser_resource, 'XML_RPC_cd');
if (!xml_parse($parser_resource, $data, 1)) {
    // return XML error as a faultCode
    $r = new XML_RPC_Response(0,
                              sprintf('XML error: %s at line %d',
} else {
    $m = new XML_RPC_Message($XML_RPC_xh[$parser]['method']);
    // now add parameters in
    for ($i = 0; $i < sizeof($XML_RPC_xh[$parser]['params']); $i++) {
        // print '\n";
        $plist .= "$i - " . $XML_RPC_xh[$parser]['params'][$i] . " \n";
        eval('$m->addParam(' . $XML_RPC_xh[$parser]['params'][$i] . ');');

The for() loop that holds the vulnerable eval() call is used to build the request from an incoming POST containing an XML document. There is really no type of checks or sanitation done prior to this point, and the fact that magic_quotes_gpc does not apply makes it that much easier for this issue to be exploited.
<?xml version="1.0"?>
		<value><name>','')); phpinfo(); exit;/*</name></value>

The above xml file when posted to the vulnerable server will cause the phpinfo() function call to be executed on the vulnerable server.

PEAR XML_RPC 1.3.1 has been released to address this issue and can be found at

Both users and developers alike are strongly advised to upgrade immediately!

James Bercegay of the GulfTech Security Research Team