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From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:14.11.2006
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-068 Vulnerability in Microsoft Agent Could Allow Remote Code Execution (920213)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-068
Vulnerability in Microsoft Agent Could Allow Remote Code Execution (920213)
Published: November 14, 2006

Version: 1.0
Summary

Who Should Read this Document: Customers who use Microsoft Windows

Impact of Vulnerability: Remote Code Execution

Maximum Severity Rating: Critical

Recommendation: Customers should apply the update immediately

Security Update Replacement: This bulletin replaces several prior security updates. See the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of this bulletin for the complete list.

Caveats: None

Tested Software and Security Update Download Locations:

Affected Software:


Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 — Download the update


Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 — Download the update


Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition — Download the update


Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 — Download the update


Microsoft Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems — Download the update


Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition — Download the update

Non-Affected Software:


Windows Vista

The software in this list has been tested to determine whether the versions are affected. Other versions either no longer include security update support or may not be affected. To determine the support life cycle for your product and version, visit the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Web site.

Note The security updates for Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition also apply to Windows Server 2003 R2.
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General Information

Executive Summary

Executive Summary:

This update resolves a newly discovered, privately reported vulnerability. The vulnerability is documented in the "Vulnerability Details" section of this bulletin.

An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

We recommend that customers apply the update immediately

Severity Ratings and Vulnerability Identifiers:
Vulnerability Identifiers Impact of Vulnerability Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 Windows XP Service Pack 2 Windows Server 2003 Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Microsoft Agent Memory Corruption Vulnerability - CVE-2006-3445


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Critical


Moderate


Moderate

This assessment is based on the types of systems that are affected by the vulnerability, their typical deployment patterns, and the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would have on them.

Note The security updates for Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition also apply to Windows Server 2003 R2.

Note The severity ratings for non-x86 operating system versions map to the x86 operating systems versions as follows:


The Windows XP Professional x64 Edition severity rating is the same as the Windows XP Service Pack 2 severity rating.


The Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems severity rating is the same as the Windows Server 2003 severity rating.


The Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems severity rating is the same as the Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 severity rating.


The Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition severity rating is the same as the Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 severity rating.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Related to This Security Update

Extended security update support for Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 1a, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002 Service Pack 1, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 Service Pack 1, Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 1a, and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition Service Pack 1 ended on October 10, 2006. I am still using one of these operating systems; what should I do?
Windows XP (all versions) Service Pack 1 has reached the end of its support life cycle. It should be a priority for customers who have these operating system versions to migrate to supported versions to prevent potential exposure to vulnerabilities. For more information about the Windows Product Lifecycle, visit the following Microsoft Support Lifecycle Web site. For more information about the extended security update support period for these operating system versions, visit the Microsoft Product Support Services Web site.

Extended security update support for Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, or Windows Millennium Edition ended on July 11, 2006.  I am still using one of these operating systems; what should I do?
Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium Edition have reached the end of their support life cycles. It should be a priority for customers who have these operating system versions to migrate to supported versions to prevent potential exposure to vulnerabilities. For more information about the Windows Product Lifecycle, visit the following Microsoft Support Lifecycle Web site. For more information about the extended security update support period for these operating system versions, visit the Microsoft Product Support Services Web site.

Extended security update support for Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Service Pack 6a and Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 ended on June 30, 2004. Extended security update support for Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 6a ended on December 31, 2004. Extended security update support for Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 ended on June 30, 2005. I am still using one of these operating systems; what should I do?
Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Service Pack 6a, Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 6a, Windows 2000 Service Pack 2, and Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 have reached the end of their support life cycles. It should be a priority for customers who have these operating system versions to migrate to supported versions to prevent potential exposure to vulnerabilities. For more information about the Windows Product Lifecycle, visit the following Microsoft Support Lifecycle Web site. For more information about the extended security update support period for these operating system versions, visit the Microsoft Product Support Services Web site.

Customers who require custom support for these products must contact their Microsoft account team representative, their Technical Account Manager, or the appropriate Microsoft partner representative for custom support options. Customers without an Alliance, Premier, or Authorized Contract can contact their local Microsoft sales office. For contact information, visit the Microsoft Worldwide Information Web site, select the country, and then click Go to see a list of telephone numbers. When you call, ask to speak with the local Premier Support sales manager. For more information, see the Windows Operating System Product Support Lifecycle FAQ.

What updates does this release replace?
This security update replaces a prior security update. The security bulletin ID and affected operating systems are listed in the following table.
Bulletin ID Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 Windows XP Service Pack 2 Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

MS05-032


Replaced


Replaced


Replaced

Can I use the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) to determine whether this update is required?
The following table provides the MBSA detection summary for this security update.
Product MBSA 1.2.1 MBSA 2.0

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Yes


Yes

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2


Yes


Yes

Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition


No


Yes

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1


Yes


Yes

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 for Itanium-based Systems


No


Yes

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition family


No


Yes

For more information about MBSA, visit the MBSA Web site. For more information about the programs that Microsoft Update and MBSA 2.0 currently do not detect, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 895660.

For more detailed information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 910723.

Can I use Systems Management Server (SMS) to determine whether this update is required?
The following table provides the SMS detection summary for this security update.
Product SMS 2.0 SMS 2003

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Yes


Yes

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2


Yes


Yes

Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition


No


Yes

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1


Yes


Yes

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 for Itanium-based Systems


No


Yes

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition family


No


Yes

SMS uses MBSA for detection. Therefore, SMS has the same limitation that is listed earlier in this bulletin related to programs that MBSA does not detect.

For SMS 2.0, the SMS SUS Feature Pack, which includes the Security Update Inventory Tool, can be used by SMS to detect security updates. SMS SUIT uses the MBSA 1.2.1 engine for detection. For more information about the Security Update Inventory Tool, visit the following Microsoft Web site. For more information about the limitations of the Security Update Inventory Tool, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 306460. The SMS SUS Feature Pack also includes the Microsoft Office Inventory Tool to detect required updates for Microsoft Office applications.

For SMS 2003, the SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates can be used by SMS to detect security updates that are offered by Microsoft Update and that are supported by Windows Server Update Services. For more information about the SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates, visit the following Microsoft Web site. SMS 2003 can also use the Microsoft Office Inventory Tool to detect required updates for Microsoft Office applications.

For more information about SMS, visit the SMS Web site.

For more detailed information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 910723.
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Vulnerability Details

Microsoft Agent Memory Corruption Vulnerability - CVE-2006-3445:

There is a remote code execution vulnerability in the way that Microsoft Agent handles specially crafted .ACF files. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a specially crafted Web page that could potentially allow remote code execution if a user viewed the Web page. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system.

Mitigating Factors for Microsoft Agent Memory Corruption Vulnerability - CVE-2006-3445:


In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a Web site that contains a Web page that is used to exploit this vulnerability. In addition, compromised Web sites and Web sites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. In all cases, however, an attacker would have no way to force users to visit these Web sites. Instead, an attacker would have to persuade users to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link in an e-mail message or instant messenger message that takes users to the attacker's Web site.


An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.


The Restricted sites zone helps reduce attacks that could try to exploit this vulnerability by preventing Active Scripting and ActiveX controls from being used when reading HTML e-mail. However, if a user clicks on a link within an e-mail they could still be vulnerable to this issue through the Web-based attack scenario.

By default, Outlook Express 6, Outlook 2002, and Outlook 2003 open HTML e-mail messages in the Restricted sites zone. Additionally Outlook 2000 opens HTML e-mail messages in the Restricted sites zone if the Outlook E-mail Security Update has been installed. Outlook Express 5.5 Service Pack 2 opens HTML e-mail messages in the Restricted sites zone if Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-018 has been installed.


By default, Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003 runs in a restricted mode that is known as Enhanced Security Configuration. This mode sets the security level for the Internet zone to High. This is a mitigating factor for Web sites that have not been added to Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone. See the FAQ section of this security update for more information about Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration.
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Workarounds for Microsoft Agent Memory Corruption Vulnerability - CVE-2006-3445:


Temporarily prevent the Microsoft Agent ActiveX control from running in Internet Explorer

You can help prevent attempts to instantiate this ActiveX control in Internet Explorer by setting the kill bit for the control in the registry.

Warning If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use the Registry Editor at your own risk.

For detailed steps that you can use to prevent a control from running in Internet Explorer, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 240797. Follow these steps in this article to create a Compatibility Flags value in the registry to prevent a COM object from being instantiated in Internet Explorer.

To set the kill bit for a CLSID with a value of {CLSID}, paste the following text in a text editor such as Notepad. Then, save the file by using the .reg file name extension.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{D45FD31B-5C6E-11D1-9EC1-00C04FD7081F}]

"Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{F5BE8BD2-7DE6-11D0-91FE-00C04FD701A5}]

"Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{4BAC124B-78C8-11D1-B9A8-00C04FD97575}]

"Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{D45FD31D-5C6E-11D1-9EC1-00C04FD7081F}]

"Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{D45FD31E-5C6E-11D1-9EC1-00C04FD7081F}]

"Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

You can apply this .reg file to individual systems by double-clicking it. You can also apply it across domains by using Group Policy. For more information about Group Policy, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:

Group Policy collection

What is Group Policy Object Editor?

Core Group Policy tools and settings

Note You must restart Internet Explorer for your changes to take effect.

Impact of Workaround: Web sites that use the Microsoft Agent ActiveX Control may no longer display or function correctly.


Configure Internet Explorer to prompt before running ActiveX Controls or disable ActiveX Controls in the Internet and Local intranet security zone

You can help protect against this vulnerability by changing your Internet Explorer settings to prompt before running ActiveX controls. To do this, follow these steps:

1.


In Internet Explorer, click Internet Options on the Tools menu.

2.


Click the Security tab.

3.


Click Internet, and then click Custom Level.

4.


Under Settings, in the ActiveX controls and plug-ins section, under Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins, click Prompt or Disable, and then click OK.

5.


Click Local intranet, and then click Custom Level.

6.


Under Settings, in the ActiveX controls and plug-ins section, under Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins, click Prompt or Disable, and then click OK.

7.


Click OK two times to return to Internet Explorer.

Impact of Workaround: There are side effects to prompting before running ActiveX controls. Many Web sites that are on the Internet or on an intranet use ActiveX to provide additional functionality. For example, an online e-commerce site or banking site may use ActiveX controls to provide menus, ordering forms, or even account statements. Prompting before running ActiveX controls is a global setting that affects all Internet and intranet sites. You will be prompted frequently when you enable this workaround. For each prompt, if you feel you trust the site that you are visiting, click Yes to run ActiveX controls. If you do not want to be prompted for all these sites, use the steps outlined in "Add sites that you trust to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone”.

Add sites that you trust to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone

After you set Internet Explorer to require a prompt before it runs ActiveX controls and Active Scripting in the Internet zone and in the Local intranet zone, you can add sites that you trust to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone. This will allow you to continue to use trusted Web sites exactly as you do today, while helping to protect you from this attack on untrusted sites. We recommend that you add only sites that you trust to the Trusted sites zone.

To do this, follow these steps:

1.


In Internet Explorer, click Tools, click Internet Options, and then click the Security tab.

2.


In the Select a Web content zone to specify its current security settings box, click Trusted Sites, and then click Sites.

3.


If you want to add sites that do not require an encrypted channel, click to clear the Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone check box.

4.


In the Add this Web site to the zone box, type the URL of a site that you trust, and then click Add.

5.


Repeat these steps for each site that you want to add to the zone.

6.


Click OK two times to accept the changes and return to Internet Explorer.

Note Add any sites that you trust not to take malicious action on your computer. Two in particular that you may want to add are "*.windowsupdate.microsoft.com" and “*.update.microsoft.com” (without the quotation marks). These are the sites that will host the update, and it requires an ActiveX Control to install the update.


Set Internet and Local intranet security zone settings to “High” to prompt before running ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting in these zones

You can help protect against this vulnerability by changing your settings for the Internet security zone to prompt before running ActiveX controls. You can do this by setting your browser security to High.

To raise the browsing security level in Microsoft Internet Explorer, follow these steps:

1.


On the Internet Explorer Tools menu, click Internet Options.

2.


In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Security tab, and then click the Internet icon.

3.


Under Security level for this zone, move the slider to High. This sets the security level for all Web sites you visit to High.

Note If no slider is visible, click Default Level, and then move the slider to High.

Note Setting the level to High may cause some Web sites to work incorrectly. If you have difficulty using a Web site after you change this setting, and you are sure the site is safe to use, you can add that site to your list of trusted sites. This will allow the site to work correctly even with the security setting set to High.

Impact of Workaround: There are side effects to prompting before running ActiveX controls. Many Web sites that are on the Internet or on an intranet use ActiveX to provide additional functionality. For example, an online e-commerce site or banking site may use ActiveX controls to provide menus, ordering forms, or even account statements. Prompting before running ActiveX controls is a global setting that affects all Internet and intranet sites. You will be prompted frequently when you enable this workaround. For each prompt, if you feel you trust the site that you are visiting, click Yes to run ActiveX controls. If you do not want to be prompted for all these sites, use the steps outlined in "Add sites that you trust to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone”.

Add sites that you trust to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone

After you set Internet Explorer to require a prompt before it runs ActiveX controls and Active Scripting in the Internet zone and in the Local intranet zone, you can add sites that you trust to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone. This will allow you to continue to use trusted Web sites exactly as you do today, while helping to protect you from this attack on untrusted sites. We recommend that you add only sites that you trust to the Trusted sites zone.

To do this, follow these steps:

1.


In Internet Explorer, click Tools, click Internet Options, and then click the Security tab.

2.


In the Select a Web content zone to specify its current security settings box, click Trusted Sites, and then click Sites.

3.


If you want to add sites that do not require an encrypted channel, click to clear the Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone check box.

4.


In the Add this Web site to the zone box, type the URL of a site that you trust, and then click Add.

5.


Repeat these steps for each site that you want to add to the zone.

6.


Click OK two times to accept the changes and return to Internet Explorer.

Note Add any sites that you trust not to take malicious action on your computer. Two in particular that you may want to add are "*.windowsupdate.microsoft.com" and “*.update.microsoft.com” (without the quotation marks). These are the sites that will host the update, and it requires an ActiveX Control to install the update.
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FAQ for Microsoft Agent Memory Corruption Vulnerability - CVE-2006-3445:

What is the scope of the vulnerability?
This is a remote code execution vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

What causes the vulnerability?
When Microsoft Agent handles specially crafted .ACF files it may corrupt system memory in such a way that an attacker could execute arbitrary code.

What is Microsoft Agent?
Microsoft Agent is a software technology that enables an enriched form of user interaction that can make using and learning to use a computer easier and more natural. For more information, see the Microsoft Agent Web site.

What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Who could exploit the vulnerability?
In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker would have to host a Web site that contains a Web page that is used to attempt to exploit this vulnerability. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a specially crafted Web site. Instead, an attacker would have to persuade them to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link that takes them to the attacker's site.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability?
This vulnerability requires that a user is logged on and visits a Web site for any malicious action to occur. Therefore, any systems where Internet Explorer is used frequently, such as workstations or terminal servers, are at the most risk from this vulnerability.

I am running Internet Explorer 7. Does this mitigate this vulnerability?
Yes. Customers who are running Internet Explorer 7 with default settings, are not at risk until the MS Agent ActiveX control has been activated through the ActiveX opt-in feature in the Internet Zone.

What is the ActiveX Opt-in feature in Internet Explorer 7?
Internet Explorer 7 includes an ActiveX opt-in feature, which means that nearly all pre-installed ActiveX controls are off by default. Users are prompted by the Information Bar before they can access a previously installed ActiveX Control that has not yet been used on the Internet. This enables a user to permit or deny access on a control-by-control basis. For more information about this and other new features see the Windows Internet Explorer 7 features page.

I am running Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003. Does this mitigate this vulnerability?
Yes. By default, Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003 runs in a restricted mode. that is known as Enhanced Security Configuration. This mode sets the security level for the Internet zone to High. This is a mitigating factor for Web sites that have not been added to Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone. See the FAQ section of this security update for more information about Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration.

What is Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration?
Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration is a group of preconfigured Internet Explorer settings that reduce the likelihood of a user or administrator downloading and running malicious Web content on a server. Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration reduces this threat by modifying numerous security-related settings, including Security and Advanced tab settings in Internet Options. Some of the key modifications include:


Security level for the Internet zone is set to High. This setting disables scripts, ActiveX components, Microsoft virtual machine (Microsoft VM) HTML content, and file downloads.


Automatic detection of intranet sites is disabled. This setting assigns all intranet Web sites and all Universal Naming Convention (UNC) paths that are not explicitly listed in the Local intranet zone to the Internet zone.


Install on Demand and non-Microsoft browser extensions are disabled. This setting prevents Web pages from automatically installing components and prevents non-Microsoft extensions from running.


Multimedia content is disabled. This setting prevents music, animations, and video clips from running.

For more information regarding Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration, please consult the Managing Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration guide, which can be found at the following Web site.

What does the update do?
The update removes the vulnerability by modifying the way that Microsoft Agent validates the length of a message before it passes the message to the allocated buffer.

When this security bulletin was issued, had this vulnerability been publicly disclosed?
No. Microsoft received information about this vulnerability through responsible disclosure.

When this security bulletin was issued, had Microsoft received any reports that this vulnerability was being exploited?
No. Microsoft had not received any information to indicate that this vulnerability had been publicly used to attack customers and had not seen any examples of proof of concept code published when this security bulletin was originally issued.

Disclaimer:

The information provided in the Microsoft Knowledge Base is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.

Revisions:


V1.0 (November 14, 2006): Bulletin published.

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