rdesktop process_plane() Function Heap-Based Buffer Overfow Remote Code Execution Vulnerability [CVE-2018-8797]

CVE Number – CVE-2018-8797

A vulnerability in the process_plane() function of rdesktop could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a targeted system.

The vulnerability is due to a heap-based buffer overflow condition that exists in the process_plane()function of the affected software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user who is using a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client on a targeted system to connect to an attacker-controlled RDP server. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code on the system. 

rdesktop has confirmed the vulnerability and released software updates.


  • To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker may use misleading language and instructions to persuade a user to connect to a malicious RDP server.


  • Administrators are advised to apply the appropriate updates.

    Administrators are advised to allow only trusted users to have network access.

    Administrators are advised to use an unprivileged account when browsing the Internet.

    Administrators are advised to monitor critical systems.

    Users are advised not to open email messages from suspicious or unrecognized sources. If users cannot verify that links or attachments included in email messages are safe, they are advised not to open them.

    Users are advised not to visit websites or follow links that have suspicious characteristics or cannot be verified as safe.

Vendor Announcements

Fixed Software

  • rdesktop has released software updates at the following link: rdesktop 1.8.4

Duncan Newell

Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

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