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  Microsoft Outlook Express / Windows Mail NNTP buffer overflow

  iDefense Security Advisory 10.09.07: Microsoft Windows Mail and Outlook Express NNTP Protocol Heap Overflow

From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:10.10.2007
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-056 - Critical Security Update for Outlook Express and Windows Mail (941202)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-056 - Critical
Security Update for Outlook Express and Windows Mail (941202)
Published: October 9, 2007

Version: 1.0
General Information
Executive Summary

This critical security update resolves one privately reported vulnerability. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution due to an incorrectly handled malformed NNTP response. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a specially crafted Web page.

This is a critical security update for all supported versions of Microsoft Outlook express and Microsoft Windows Mail. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

This security update removes the vulnerability by changing the newsgroup client to handle malformed responses correctly. For more information about the vulnerabilities, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) subsection for the specific vulnerability entry under the next section, Vulnerability Information.

Recommendation. Microsoft recommends that customers apply the update immediately.

Known Issues. Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 941202 documents the currently known issues that customers may experience when they install this security update. The article also documents recommended solutions for these issues.
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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 Component Maximum Security Impact Severity Rating Bulletins Replaced by This Update

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Outlook Express 5.5 Service Pack 2


Remote Code Execution


Critical


MS06-076

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Outlook Express 6 Service Pack 1


Remote Code Execution


Critical


MS06-076

Windows XP Service Pack 2


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Microsoft Outlook Express 6


Remote Code Execution


Critical


Not Applicable

Windows Vista


Windows Mail


Remote Code Execution


Important


Not Applicable

Windows Vista x64 Edition


Windows Mail


Remote Code Execution


Important


Not Applicable
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Related to This Security Update

What are the known issues that customers may experience when they install this security update?
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 941202 documents the currently known issues that customers may experience when they install this security update. The article also documents recommended solutions for these issues

I am using an older version or edition 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 versions or editions are affected. Other versions or editions are past their support life cycle. To determine the support life cycle for your software versions or editions, visit Microsoft Support Lifecycle.

It should be a priority for customers who have older versions or editions of the software to migrate to supported versions or editions 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 versions or editions, 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
Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected Software
Affected Software Network News Transfer Protocol Memory Corruption Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3897
Windows 2000

Outlook Express 5.5 Service Pack 2 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Critical
Remote Code Execution

Outlook Express 6 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Critical
Remote Code Execution
Windows XP

Outlook Express 6 on Windows XP Service Pack 2


Critical
Remote Code Execution

Outlook Express 6 on Windows XP Professional x64 Service Pack 2


Critical
Remote Code Execution
Windows Server

Outlook Express 6 on Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Critical
Remote Code Execution

Outlook Express 6 on Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition and Outlook Express 6 on Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Critical
Remote Code Execution

Outlook Express 6 on Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems and Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Critical
Remote Code Execution
Windows Vista

Windows Mail in Windows Vista


Important
Remote Code Execution

Windows Mail in Windows Vista x64 Edition


Important
Remote Code Execution
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Network News Transfer Protocol Memory Corruption Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3897

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Outlook Express and Windows Mail for Microsoft Vista, due to an incorrectly handled malformed NNTP response. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a specially crafted Web page. If a user viewed the Web page, the vulnerability could allow remote code execution. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user.

To view this vulnerability as a standard entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list, see CVE-2007-3897.

Mitigating Factors for Network News Transfer Protocol Memory Corruption Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3897

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 could host a Web site that contains a Web page that is used to exploit this vulnerability In addition, Web sites that accept or host user-provided content, or compromised Web sites and advertisement servers 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.


Internet Explorer 7 Protect Mode on Microsoft Windows Vista displays a warning dialogue that a Web page is attempting to access Windows Mail. The user would have to click allow before the vulnerability could be exploited.
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Workarounds for Network News Transfer Protocol Memory Corruption – CVE-2007-3897

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:


Disable news protocol handler.

You can disable the news protocol handler by removing the application associated with it 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 Registry Editor at your own risk.

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_CLASSES_ROOT\news\shell\open\command]
@=""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\snews\shell\open\command]
@=""

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

Impact of workaround: This workaround removes the associated application that is used to run NNTP.


Remove News Accounts.

Removing all registered news accounts in Outlook Express or Windows Mail client.

1.


In Windows Mail or Outlook Express select the Tools menu and then Accounts

2.


Select a News account and click remove then OK or Yes

3.


Repeat step 2 for all News accounts

Impact of workaround:Removing newsgroups that have been registered will make them unavailable for use unless you reregister them again.
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FAQ for Network News Transfer Protocol Memory Corruption – CVE-2007-3897

What is the scope of the vulnerability?
This is a remote code execution vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged on user.

What causes the vulnerability?
The vulnerability is present due to incorrect handling of malformed responses in the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP).

What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged on user.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
An attacker could host a specially crafted Web site that is designed to exploit this vulnerability and then convince a user to view the Web site. This can also include Web sites that accept user-provided content or advertisements, Web sites that host user-provided content or advertisements, and compromised Web sites. These Web sites could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. In no case, however, would an attacker have a way to force users to visit these Web sites. Instead, an attacker would have to convince users to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link in an e-mail message or in an Instant Messenger request that takes users to the attacker's Web site.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability?
These vulnerabilities require 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 these vulnerabilities.

What does the update do?
The update removes the vulnerability by changing the news client to handle malformed responses correctly.

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:


Greg MacManus of VeriSign iDefense Labs for reporting the Network News Transfer Protocol Memory Corruption Vulnerability – CVE-2007-3897.
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 (October 09, 2007): Bulletin published.

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