QEMU load_image Function Buffer Overflow Vulnerability [CVE-2018-20815]

CVE Number – CVE-2018-20815

A vulnerability in QEMU could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute code on a targeted system.The vulnerability is due to buffer errors in the deprecated load_image function, as defined in the device_tree.c source code file of the affected software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by submitting a large image file to the affected system. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute code on the targeted system.QEMU has confirmed the vulnerability and released a patch.


  • To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would need to have network access and the ability to submit a large image file to the affected system.  These requirements could reduce the likelihood of a successful exploit.


  • Administrators are advised to apply the appropriate updates.
    Administrators are advised to allow only trusted users to have network access.
    Administrators are advised to run both firewall and antivirus applications to minimize the potential of inbound and outbound threats.
    Administrators may consider using IP-based access control lists (ACLs) to allow only trusted systems to access the affected systems.
    Administrators can help protect affected systems from external attacks by using a solid firewall strategy.
    Administrators are advised to monitor affected systems.

Vendor Announcements

  • QEMU has released a security notice at the following link: device_tree

Fixed Software

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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