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  Microsoft DHTML ActiveX code execution

From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:09.09.2009
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-046 - Critical Vulnerability in DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Could Allow Remote Code Execution (956844)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-046 - Critical
Vulnerability in DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Could Allow Remote Code Execution (956844)
Published: September 08, 2009

Version: 1.0
General Information
Executive Summary

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the DHTML Editing Component ActiveX control. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a specially crafted Web page. When a user views 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. 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 Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP and Moderate for all supported editions of Windows Server 2003. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

This security update addresses the vulnerability by revising the way that the ActiveX control formats HTML markup. For more information about this vulnerability, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) subsection for the specific vulnerability entry under the next section, Vulnerability Information.

Recommendation. The majority of customers have automatic updates enabled and will not need to take any action because this security update will be downloaded and installed automatically. Customers who have not enabled automatic updates need to check for updates and install this update manually. For information about specific configuration options in automatic updating, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 294871.

For administrators and enterprise installations, or end users who want to install this security update manually, Microsoft recommends that customers apply the update immediately using update management software, or by checking for updates using the Microsoft Update service.

See also the section, Detection and Deployment Tools and Guidance, later in this bulletin.

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
Operating System Maximum Security Impact Aggregate Severity Rating Bulletins Replaced by this Update

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Remote Code Execution


Critical


None

Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3


Remote Code Execution


Critical


None

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Remote Code Execution


Critical


None

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Remote Code Execution


Moderate


None

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Remote Code Execution


Moderate


None

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Remote Code Execution


Moderate


None

Non-Affected Software
Operating System

Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista Service Pack 2

Windows Vista x64 Edition, Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems and Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems Service Pack 2

Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems

Windows 7 for x64-based Systems

Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems

Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Related to This Security Update

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.

How is this vulnerability related to the vulnerabilities described in MS09-037?
This vulnerability is not related to the vulnerabilities in Microsoft Active Template Library (ATL), discussed in MS09-037. The vulnerability in the DHTML Editing Component ActiveX control does not arise from using a vulnerable version of ATL.

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 September bulletin summary. For more information, see Microsoft Exploitability Index.
Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected Software
Affected Software DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2519 Aggregate Severity Rating

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Critical
Remote Code Execution


Critical

Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3


Critical
Remote Code Execution


Critical

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Critical
Remote Code Execution


Critical

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Moderate
Remote Code Execution


Moderate

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Moderate
Remote Code Execution


Moderate

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Moderate
Remote Code Execution


Moderate
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DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2519

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a specially crafted Web page. When a user views 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.

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.

To view this vulnerability as a standard entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list, see CVE-2009-2519.

Mitigating Factors for DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2519

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, 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.


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.


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.


By default, Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 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 you have not added to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone. See the FAQ subsection of this vulnerability section for more information about Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration.
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Workarounds for DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2519

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:


Prevent the DHTML ActiveX control COM object from running in Internet Explorer

You can disable attempts to instantiate the DHTML ActiveX control COM object 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 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 the DHTML ActiveX control which has a CLSID value of {2D360201-FFFS-11D1-8D03-00A0C959BC0A}, 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\{2D360201-FFFS-11D1-8D03-00A0C959BC0A}]
"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: There is no impact because the DHTML ActiveX control COM object is not intended to be used in Internet Explorer.


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 exploitation of this vulnerability by changing your settings for the Internet security zone to prompt before running ActiveX controls and Active Scripting. You can do this by setting your browser security to High.

To raise the browsing security level in 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 and Active Scripting. Many Web sites that are on the Internet or on an intranet use ActiveX or Active Scripting 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 or Active Scripting 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 or Active Scripting. 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 system. Two in particular that you may want to add are *.windowsupdate.microsoft.com and *.update.microsoft.com. These are the sites that will host the update, and it requires an ActiveX Control to install the update.


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

You can help protect against exploitation of this vulnerability by changing your settings to prompt before running Active Scripting or to disable Active Scripting in the Internet and Local intranet security zone. 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 Scripting section, under Active Scripting, click Prompt or Disable, and then click OK.

5.


Click Local intranet, and then click Custom Level.

6.


Under Settings, in the Scripting section, under Active Scripting, click Prompt or Disable, and then click OK.

7.


Click OK two times to return to Internet Explorer.

Note Disabling Active Scripting in the Internet and Local intranet security zones 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.

Impact of workaround. There are side effects to prompting before running Active Scripting. Many Web sites that are on the Internet or on an intranet use Active Scripting to provide additional functionality. For example, an online e-commerce site or banking site may use Active Scripting to provide menus, ordering forms, or even account statements. Prompting before running Active Scripting 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 Active Scripting. 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 system. Two in particular that you may want to add are *.windowsupdate.microsoft.com and *.update.microsoft.com. 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 DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2519

What is the scope of the vulnerability?
This is a remote code execution vulnerability. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if the user visits a specially crafted Web page with Internet Explorer, instantiating the ActiveX control. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user.

What causes the vulnerability?
When the Microsoft DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control is instantiated in Internet Explorer, the control may corrupt the system state in such a way that an attacker could run arbitrary code.

What is the DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control?
The DHTML Editing Component ActiveX control provides an HTML editor that you can use to support dynamic Web site HTML editing in software. For more information about the DHTML Editing Component ActiveX control, see "The DHTML Editing Component" in the MSDN article, Introduction to MSHTML Editing.

I am running Internet Explorer for Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008. Does this mitigate this vulnerability?
Yes. By default, Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 runs in a restricted mode that is known as Enhanced Security Configuration. Enhanced Security Configuration is a group of preconfigured settings in Internet Explorer that can reduce the likelihood of a user or administrator downloading and running specially crafted Web content on a server. This is a mitigating factor for Web sites that you have not added to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone. See also Managing Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration.

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. 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?
An attacker could host a specially crafted Web site that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer, and then convince a user to view the Web site. This can also include compromised Web sites and Web sites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements. These Web sites 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 in an Instant Messenger request that takes users to the attacker's Web site. It could also be possible to display specially crafted Web content by using banner advertisements or by using other methods to deliver Web content to affected systems.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability?
This vulnerability requires that a user be logged on and visiting 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.

What does the update do?
This security update addresses the vulnerability by revising the way that the ActiveX control formats HTML markup.

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 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:


Tavis Ormandy of Google Inc. for reporting the DHTML Editing Component ActiveX Control Vulnerability (CVE-2009-2519)
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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 (September 8, 2009): Bulletin published.

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