Microsoft XML Core Services contains a vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a targeted system.
The vulnerability is due to improper memory operations performed by the affected software. An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user to view a malicious website. If successful, the attacker could execute arbitrary code on the system.
Functional code that exploits this vulnerability is available as part of the Metasploit framework.
Microsoft has confirmed the vulnerability in a security bulletin and released software updates.
Indicators of Compromise
Microsoft XML Core Services versions 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0 are affected when install with the following software or system:
Office 2003 SP3 and prior
Office 2007 SP3 and prior
Windows XP SP3 and prior
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2003 SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems and prior
Windows Vista SP2 and prior
Windows Vista x64 Edition SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems SP2 and prior
Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems SP1 and prior
Windows 7 for x64-based Systems SP1 and prior
Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems SP1 and prior
Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems SP1 and prior
The vulnerability is due to improper memory operations performed when Microsoft XML Core Services attempts to process malicious input.
An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit the vulnerability by convincing a user to view a website that is designed to pass malicious input to the affected software. When processed, the input could cause the software to access previously removed memory objects, resulting in memory corruption. The attacker could use the memory corruption to execute arbitrary code on the system with the privileges of the user.
To exploit the vulnerability, the attacker may provide a link that directs a user to a malicious site and use misleading language or instructions to persuade the user to follow the provided link.
On Microsoft Server 2003 and 2008 systems, Microsoft Internet Explorer runs in a higher security mode by default. This mode prevents attacks that attempt to exploit the vulnerability, reducing the risk of exploitation on such systems.
Microsoft reports that attacks that target this vulnerability are occurring in the wild. Functional code that exploits this vulnerability is available as part of the Metasploit framework.
Exploits distributed via the Blackhole toolkit have been observed, incorporating exploit code similar to the code available from Metasploit.
Administrators are advised to apply the appropriate updates.
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.
Administrators are advised to monitor affected systems.
Administrators may consider using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) scan tool to identify common security misconfigurations and missing security updates on system endpoints.
Microsoft has re-released a security bulletin at the following link: MS12-043
Microsoft has released a security advisory at the following link: KB2719615
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 Windows Update website. Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Systems Management Server, and System Center Configuration Manager can assist administrators in deploying software updates.
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