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From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:11.09.2007
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-051 - Critical Vulnerability in Microsoft Agent Could Allow Remote Code Execution (938827)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-051 - Critical
Vulnerability in Microsoft Agent Could Allow Remote Code Execution (938827)
Published: September 11, 2007

Version: 1.0
General Information
Executive Summary

This critical security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability. A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Microsoft Agent in the way that it handles certain specially crafted URLs. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on the affected system. 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.

This is a critical security update for Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by changing the way Microsoft Agent handles specially crafted URLs. For more information about the vulnerability, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) subsection for the vulnerability entry under the next section, Vulnerability Information.

Recommendation. Microsoft recommends that customers apply the update immediately.

Known Issues. None
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Affected and Non-Affected Software

The software listed here have been tested to determine which versions or editions are affected. Other versions or editions are either past their support life cycle or are not affected. To determine the support life cycle for your software version or edition, visit Microsoft Support Lifecycle.

Affected Software
Operating System Maximum Security Impact Aggregate Severity Rating Bulletins Replaced by This Update

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Remote Code Execution


Critical


MS07-020

Non-Affected Software
Operating System

Windows XP Service Pack 2

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Server 2003 Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems and Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems

Windows Vista

Windows Vista x64 Edition
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Related to This Security Update

I am using an older release of the software discussed in this security bulletin. What should I do?
The affected software listed in this bulletin have been tested to determine which releases are affected. Other releases are past their support life cycle. To determine the support life cycle for your software release, visit Microsoft Support Lifecycle.

It should be a priority for customers who have older releases of the software to migrate to supported releases to prevent potential exposure to vulnerabilities. For more information about the Windows Product Lifecycle, visit the following Microsoft Support Lifecycle. For more information about the extended security update support period for these software releases, visit the Microsoft Product Support Services Web site.

Customers who require custom support for older software 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.
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Vulnerability Information

Severity Ratings and Vulnerability Identifiers
Affected Software Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040 Aggregate Severity Rating

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Critical

Remote Code Execution


Critical
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Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Microsoft Agent in the way that it handles certain specially crafted URLs. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on the affected system. 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.

To view this vulnerability as a standard entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list, see CVE-2007-3040.

Mitigating Factors for Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040

Mitigation refers to a setting, common configuration, or general best-practice, existing in a default state, that could reduce the severity of exploitation of a vulnerability. The following mitigating factors may be helpful in your situation:


In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker would have to host a Web site that contains a Web page that is used to exploit this vulnerability. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a malicious 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 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 ActiveX controls from being used when reading HTML e-mail messages. However, if a user clicks a link in an e-mail message, they could still be vulnerable to this issue through the Web-based attack scenario.


By default, all supported versions of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Outlook Express open HTML e-mail messages in the Restricted sites zone. 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.
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Workarounds for Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040

Workaround refers to a setting or configuration change that does not correct the underlying vulnerability but would help block known attack vectors before you apply the update. Microsoft has tested the following workarounds and states in the discussion whether a workaround reduces functionality:


Temporarily prevent the 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 {D45FD31B-5C6E-11D1-9EC1-00C04FD7081F}, 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 will no longer work correctly via Internet Explorer.


Unregister AgentSvr.exe

Enter the following at a command line or in a logon or machine startup script:

%windir%\msagent\agentsvr.exe /unregserver

Impact of workaround: Microsoft Agent will no longer work.


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. To continue receiving security updates from Microsoft, add are *.windowsupdate.microsoft.com and *.update.microsoft.com. These are the sites that will host the update, and you must have 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. To continue receiving security updates from Microsoft, add are *.windowsupdate.microsoft.com and *.update.microsoft.com. These are the sites that will host the update, and you must have an ActiveX Control to install the update.
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FAQ for Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040

What is the scope of the vulnerability?
A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Microsoft Agent in the way that it handles certain specially crafted URLs. 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?
Supplying a specially crafted URL to the Microsoft Agent ActiveX control could corrupt system memory so that an attacker could execute arbitrary code.

What is Microsoft Agent?
Microsoft Agent is a component of the Microsoft Windows operating system that uses interactive animated characters to guide users and can make using and learning to use a computer easier. 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 take complete control of the 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.

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 convince 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. Any systems where Internet Explorer is used frequently, such as workstations or terminal servers, are at the most risk from this vulnerability.

What does the update do?
The update removes the vulnerability by changing the way Microsoft Agent handles specially crafted URLs.

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.

Other Information
Acknowledgments

Microsoft thanks the following for working with us to help protect customers:


The Vulnerability Research team of Assurent Secure Technologies for reporting the Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040


Yamata Li of Palo Alto Networks for reporting the Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040


An anonymous researcher working with VeriSign iDefense VCP for reporting the Agent Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3040
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Support


Customers in the U.S. and Canada can receive technical support from Microsoft Product Support Services at 1-866-PCSAFETY. There is no charge for support calls that are associated with security updates.


International customers can receive support from their local Microsoft subsidiaries. There is no charge for support that is associated with security updates. For more information about how to contact Microsoft for support issues, visit the International Support Web site.
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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.
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Revisions


V1.0 (August 14, 2007): Bulletin published.

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