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  Microsoft Windows Indexing Service ActiveX memory corruption

From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:13.10.2009
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-057 - Important Vulnerability in Indexing Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution (969059)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-057 - Important
Vulnerability in Indexing Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution (969059)
Published: October 13, 2009

Version: 1.0
General Information
Executive Summary

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an attacker set up a malicious Web page that invokes the Indexing Service through a call to its ActiveX component. This call could include a malicious URL and exploit the vulnerability, granting the attacker access to the client system with the privileges of the user browsing the Web page. 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 all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by modifying the way that the Indexing Service ActiveX control processes URLs. 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.  The majority of customers have automatic updating 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 updating 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 at the earliest opportunity 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


Important


MS06-053

Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3


Remote Code Execution


Important


MS06-053

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Remote Code Execution


Important


None

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Remote Code Execution


Important


None

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Remote Code Execution


Important


None

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Remote Code Execution


Important


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

Is the Indexing Service installed on Windows by default?
The Indexing Service is a non-default component which must be installed manually by the administrator for the system to be vulnerable. On all affected versions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the vulnerability can be exploited if the Indexing Service is not actively running, however it must still have been manually installed.

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 October bulletin summary. For more information, see Microsoft Exploitability Index.
Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected Software
Affected Software Memory Corruption in Indexing Service Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2507 Aggregate Severity Rating

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Important
Remote Code Execution


Important

Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3


Important
Remote Code Execution


Important

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Important
Remote Code Execution


Important

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Important
Remote Code Execution


Important

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Important
Remote Code Execution


Important

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Important
Remote Code Execution


Important
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Memory Corruption in Indexing Service Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2507

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the Indexing Service on Windows systems. The vulnerability is due to an ActiveX control included with the service not properly handling specifically crafted Web content. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system.

To view this vulnerability as a standard entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list, see CVE-2009-2507.

Mitigating Factors for Memory Corruption in Indexing Service Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2507

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:


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 vulnerability cannot be exploited automatically through e-mail The malicious file could be sent as an e-mail attachment, but the attacker would have to convince the user to open the attachment in order to exploit the vulnerability.


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.
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Workarounds for Memory Corruption in Indexing Service Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2507

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:


Unregister ixsso.dll

1.


Click Start, click Run, type "%SystemRoot%\System32\regsvr32.exe" /u ixsso.dll, and then click OK.

2.


A dialog box appears to confirm that the un-registration process has succeeded. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Impact of workaround. The Windows Indexing Service will not be able to construct an indexed catalog to facilitate efficient and rapid searching. Searches may take longer to complete.

How to undo the workaround.

1.


Click Start, click Run, type "%SystemRoot%\System32\regsvr32.exe" ixsso.dll, and then click OK.

2.


A dialog box appears to confirm that the registration process has succeeded. Click OK to close the dialog box.


Prevent the Indexing Service ActiveX control COM object from running in Internet Explorer

You can disable attempts to instantiate the Indexing Service 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 Indexing Service ActiveX control which has a CLSID value of {A4463024-2B6F-11D0-BFBC-0020F8008024}, 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\{A4463024-2B6F-11D0-BFBC-0020F8008024}]
"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: Internet Explorer will no longer be able to invoke the Indexing Service ActiveX control.


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 Memory Corruption in Indexing Service Vulnerability - CVE-2009-2507

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 remotely. If successfully exploited, an attacker could then install programs or view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

What causes the vulnerability?
The vulnerability is caused by an ActiveX component that is included with the Indexing service that does not properly handle specially crafted Web content.

What is Indexing Service?
Indexing Service is a base service for Microsoft Windows that extracts content from files and constructs an indexed catalog to facilitate efficient and rapid searching. Indexing Service can extract both text and property information from files on the local host and on remote, networked hosts. The files can be simply members of a selected file system or part of a virtual Web hosted by, for example, Internet Information Services (IIS).

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?
An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by setting up a malicious Web page that contains a script to load and execute a vulnerable binary through an Indexing Service COM object. If the victim's computer has the vulnerable binary, upon opening this Web page, the binary will be loaded and executed by the ActiveX component, granting the attacker access to the client system under the privileges of the user browsing the Web page.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability?
Systems that have the Indexing Service enabled are primarily at risk from this vulnerability from local or network-based attacks. If the Indexing Service is not enabled, the system would not be vulnerable to this issue. None of the affected systems enable the Indexing Service by default.

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 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 is the ActiveX opt-in feature in Windows Internet Explorer 7?
Windows 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 instantiate 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.

What does the update do?
The update removes the vulnerability by modifying the way the Indexing Service ActiveX control processes 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:


Yamata Li of Palo Alto Networks for reporting the Memory Corruption in Indexing Service Vulnerability (CVE-2009-2507)
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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 (October 13, 2009): Bulletin published.

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