Microsoft Word contains a vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a targeted system. Updates are available.
Microsoft Word contains a vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code.
The vulnerability exists because the affected software performs improper memory operations when handling Rich Text Format (RTF) data. An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user to visit a malicious site or open a crafted .rtf e-mail message. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code on the system with the privileges of the user. If the user holds administrative privileges, the attacker could completely compromise the system.
Microsoft has confirmed the vulnerability in a security bulletin and released software updates.
The following Microsoft products are affected:
Microsoft Word 2003 SP3 and prior
Microsoft Word 2010 SP1 (32-bit and 64-bit editions)
Microsoft Word Viewer
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack SP2
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack SP3
Microsoft Office Web Apps 2010 SP1
To exploit the vulnerability, the attacker may provide a link that directs a user to a malicious site or provide a file using an e-mail message or other means and use misleading language or instructions to persuade the user to follow the provided link or open the malicious file.
Microsoft has corrected this vulnerability by modifying the way the Microsoft Word parses RTF-formatted data.
Microsoft has released a security bulletin at the following link: MS12-079
An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary code on the system with the privileges of the user. If the user holds administrative privileges, the attacker could completely compromise the system.
The vulnerability is due to a memory error condition that could occur when the affected software handles RTF files with crafted header data related to the \listoverridecount keyword used by the \listoverridetable list table.
An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user to visit a malicious site or open a crafted .rtf e-mail message. When the affected software processes the malicious RTF file header data, a memory error condition could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code on the system with the privileges of the user. If the user holds administrative privileges, the attacker could completely compromise the system.
Administrators are advised to apply the appropriate updates.
Administrators are advised to allow only trusted users to have network access.
Users are advised not to open e-mail messages from suspicious or unrecognized sources. If users cannot verify that links or attachments included in e-mail 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.
Users are advised to read e-mail in plain text format if requirements permit.
Administrators may consider applying the Microsoft Office File Block policy to prevent the opening of Office 2003 and earlier documents from suspicious or unrecognized sources.
Administrators may consider using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) scan tool to identify common security misconfigurations and missing security updates on system endpoints.
Administrators are advised to use an unprivileged account when browsing the Internet.
Administrators are advised to monitor critical systems.
Microsoft customers can obtain updates directly by using the links in the security bulletin. These updates are also distributed by Windows automatic update features and available on the Microsoft Update service. Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Systems Management Server, and System Center Configuration Manager can assist administrators in deploying software updates
The security vulnerability applies to the following combinations of products.
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats
Original Release SP2, SP3
2003 Base, SP1, SP2, SP3 | 2010 SP1
Office Web Apps
The urgency and severity ratings of this alert are not tailored to individual users; users may value alerts differently based upon their network configurations and circumstances. THE ALERT, AND INFORMATION CONTAINED THEREIN, ARE PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS AND DO NOT IMPLY ANY KIND OF GUARANTEE OR WARRANTY, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR USE. YOUR USE OF THE ALERT, AND INFORMATION CONTAINED THEREIN, OR MATERIALS LINKED FROM THE ALERT, IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. INFORMATION IN THIS ALERT AND ANY RELATED COMMUNICATIONS IS BASED ON OUR KNOWLEDGE AT THE TIME OF PUBLICATION AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. CISCO RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OR UPDATE ALERTS AT ANY TIME.