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  Microsoft Office Publisher uninitialized pointer dereference

  iDefense Security Advisory 07.15.09: Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 Arbitrary Pointer Dereference Vulnerability

From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:14.07.2009
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-030 - Important Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Publisher Could Allow Remote Code Execution (969516)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-030 - Important
Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Publisher Could Allow Remote Code Execution (969516)
Published: July 14, 2009

Version: 1.0
General Information
Executive Summary

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Office Publisher that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Publisher file. 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.

This security update is rated Important for Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 Service Pack 1. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

This update addresses the vulnerability by modifying the way that Microsoft Office Publisher opens Publisher files. For more information about the vulnerability, 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 at the earliest opportunity.

Known Issues. None.
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Affected and Non-Affected Software

The following software 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
Office Suite Component Maximum Security Impact Aggregate Severity Rating Bulletins Replaced by this Update

2007 Microsoft Office System Service Pack 1


Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 Service Pack 1
(KB969693)


Remote Code Execution


Important


MS08-027

Non-Affected Software
Office Suite Component

Microsoft Office 2000 Service Pack 3


Microsoft Office Publisher 2000 Service Pack 3

Microsoft Office XP Service Pack 3


Microsoft Office Publisher 2002 Service Pack 3

Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3


Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 Service Pack 3

2007 Microsoft Office System Service Pack 2


Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 Service Pack 2
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Related to This Security Update

Why is this security update rated Important in severity?
Microsoft Office Publisher 2002 and later versions have a built-in feature that prompts a user to Open, Save, or Cancel before opening a document. This mitigating factor reduces the remote code execution vulnerability from Critical to Important because the vulnerability requires more than a single user action to complete the exploit.

Where are the file information details?
Refer to the reference tables in the Security Update Deployment section for the location of the file information details.

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 Microsoft Support Lifecycle. For more information about the extended security update support period for these software versions or editions, visit Microsoft Product Support Services.

Customers who require custom support for older releases 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 Microsoft Worldwide Information, 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

The following severity ratings assume the potential maximum impact of the vulnerability. For information regarding the likelihood, within 30 days of this security bulletin's release, of the exploitability of the vulnerability in relation to its severity rating and security impact, please see the Exploitability Index in the July bulletin summary. For more information, see Microsoft Exploitability Index.
Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected Software
Affected Software Pointer Dereference Vulnerability - CVE-2009-0566 Aggregate Severity Rating

Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 Service Pack 1


Important
Remote Code Execution


Important
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Pointer Dereference Vulnerability - CVE-2009-0566

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that Microsoft Office Publisher opens, imports, and converts files created in versions older than Microsoft Office Publisher 2007. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by creating a specially crafted Publisher file that could be included as an e-mail attachment, or hosted on a specially crafted or compromised Web site.

If a user were 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 affected 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-2009-0566.

Mitigating Factors for Pointer Dereference Vulnerability - CVE-2009-0566

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:


Microsoft Office Publisher 2002 and later versions prompt a user to Open, Save, or Cancel before opening a document. This is a mitigating factor because the vulnerability requires more than a single user action to complete the exploit.


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.


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 convince 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.


The vulnerability cannot be exploited automatically through e-mail. For an attack to be successful a user must open an attachment that is sent in an e-mail message.
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Workarounds for Pointer Dereference Vulnerability - CVE-2009-0566

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 the Publisher Converter DLL

For Windows XP, run the following command from a command prompt:

cacls “c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\pubconv.dll” /E /P everyone:N

For 64-bit editions of Windows XP, run the following command from a command prompt:

cacls <64BIT_PATH_AND_FILENAME> /E /P everyone:N

Note Use the Windows paths appropriate for your system, such as “%ProgramFiles(86)%” or “%windir%\SysWOW64”.

For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, run the following commands from an elevated command prompt:

takeown /f “c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\pubconv.dll”
icacls “c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\pubconv.dll” /save %TEMP%\ PUBCONV ACL.TXT
icacls “c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\pubconv.dll” /deny everyone(F)

For 64-bit editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, run the following commands from an elevated command prompt:

takeown /f <64BIT_PATH_AND_FILENAME>
icacls <64BIT_PATH_AND_FILENAME> /save %TEMP%\ FILENAME _ACL.TXT
icacls <64BIT_PATH_AND_FILENAME> /deny everyone (F)

Note Use the Windows paths appropriate for your system, such as “%ProgramFiles(86)%” or “%windir%\SysWOW64”.

Impact of workaround. Users who have disabled the Publisher Converter DLL will not be able to open Microsoft Office Publisher files created in versions earlier than Publisher 2007.

How to undo the workaround:

For Windows XP, run the following command from a command prompt:

cacls “c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\pubconv.dll” /E /R everyone

For 64-bit editions of Windows XP, run the following command from a command prompt:

cacls <64BIT_PATH_AND_FILENAME> /E /R everyone

Note Use the Windows paths appropriate for your system, such as “%ProgramFiles(86)%” or “%windir%\SysWOW64”.

For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, run the following command from an elevated command prompt:

icacls “c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\” /restore %TEMP%\PUBCONV_ACL.TXT

For 64-bit editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, run the following command from an elevated command prompt:

icacls <64BIT_PATH_ONLY> /restore %TEMP%\FILENAME_ACL.TXT

Note Use the Windows paths appropriate for your system, such as “%ProgramFiles(86)%” or “%windir%\SysWOW64”.
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FAQ for Pointer Dereference Vulnerability - CVE-2009-0566

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?
The vulnerability is caused by an error in calculating object handler data when opening a specially crafted Publisher file. The error may corrupt system memory in such a way that an attacker could execute arbitrary code.

What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code as the logged-on user. If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker 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.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
This vulnerability requires that a user open a specially crafted Publisher file with Microsoft Office Publisher.

In an e-mail attack scenario, an attacker could exploit the vulnerability by sending a specially crafted Publisher file to the user and by convincing the user to open the file.

In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker would have to host a Web site that contains a Publisher file that is used to attempt to exploit this vulnerability. In addition, compromised Web sites and Web sites that accept or host user-provided content could contain specially crafted content that could 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 in an e-mail message or Instant Messenger message that takes them to the attacker's site.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability?
Systems where Microsoft Office Publisher is used, including workstations and terminal servers, are primarily at risk. Servers could be at more risk if administrators allow users to log on to servers and to run programs. However, best practices strongly discourage allowing this.

What does the update do?
This update removes the vulnerability by changing the way that Microsoft Office Publisher opens specially crafted Publisher files.

When this security bulletin was issued, had this vulnerability been publicly disclosed?
No. Microsoft received information about this vulnerability through responsible disclosure. Microsoft had not received any information to indicate that this vulnerability had been publicly disclosed when this security bulletin was originally issued.

When this security bulletin was issued, had Microsoft received any reports that this vulnerability was being exploited?
No. Microsoft had not received 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:


Lionel d'Hauenens of Labo Skopia, working with VeriSign iDefense Labs, for reporting the Pointer Dereference Vulnerability (CVE-2009-0566).

Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP)

To improve security protections for customers, Microsoft provides vulnerability information to major security software providers in advance of each monthly security update release. Security software providers can then use this vulnerability information to provide updated protections to customers via their security software or devices, such as antivirus, network-based intrusion detection systems, or host-based intrusion prevention systems. To determine whether active protections are available from security software providers, please visit the active protections Web sites provided by program partners, listed in Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) Partners.

Support


Customers in the U.S. and Canada can receive technical support from Security Support or 1-866-PCSAFETY. There is no charge for support calls that are associated with security updates. For more information about available support options, see Microsoft Help and Support.


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.

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 (July 14, 2009): Bulletin published.

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