New ActiveX Vulnerability Uncovered, This Time in Microsoft Office Web Components
Article by George Norman
On 14 Jul 2009
The week started with Microsoft announcing to the world that yet another ActiveX vulnerability has been uncovered: this time the vulnerability affects Microsoft Office Web Components and may allow the person with malicious intent that exploits it to take control of the targeted machine. And if the remote code execution was not enough, Microsoft said that it is aware of attacks exploiting this Office Web Components Spreadsheet ActiveX control (OWC 10 and OWC11) vulnerability.

I said “yet another ActiveX vulnerability” above because about a week ago the company announced it is aware of a Microsoft Video ActiveX Control vulnerability that when exploited by a person with malicious intent would give the attacker the same user rights as the local user. All you have to do to get owned is use Internet Explorer and visit a malicious web site. This vulnerability alongside many others will be addressed with the July 2009 Patch Tuesday update.

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Group Manager with Microsoft’s Security Response Communications (MRSC) team, Dave Forstrom, comments: “We have just posted Microsoft Security Advisory 973472, which highlights a vulnerability in Microsoft Office Web Components. Specifically, the vulnerability exists in the Spreadsheet ActiveX control and while we’ve only seen limited attacks, if exploited successfully, an attacker could gain the same user rights as the local user. We’re currently investigating the issue as part of our Software Security Incident Response Process (SSIRP) and working to develop a security update. This update will be released once it reaches an appropriate level of quality for broad distribution.”

Affected products include:
Microsoft Office XP Service Pack 3
Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3
Microsoft Office XP Web Components Service Pack 3
Microsoft Office 2003 Web Components Service Pack 3
Microsoft Office 2003 Web Components for the 2007 Microsoft Office system Service Pack 1
Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 Standard Edition Service Pack 3
Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 Enterprise Edition Service Pack 3
Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006
Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006 Supportability Update
Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006 Service Pack 1
Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006

What does the use have to do to get become compromised? The attack vector is quite simple: all the user has to do is visit a specially crafted web page to get owned.

Microsoft’s Security Advisory 973472 is available here. It presents detailed info about the vulnerability and a workaround for the security hole.
Alternatively you can use Microsoft Fix It to automatically apply the workaround – details in the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 973472 here.



Tags: Microsoft, ActiveX, Vulnerability, Security, Microsoft Office Web Components
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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