Public Vulnerability Reports

Microsoft Excel Filter Record Code Execution Vulnerability



Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet application from the Microsoft Office System. More information is available at the following URL.


Remote exploitation of an input validation error in the handling of AutoFilter records in Excel BIFF8 format spreadsheet files by Microsoft Corp.'s Excel 2003 could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user.

The AutoFilter feature of Excel allows data not matching a specified criteria to be filtered out. By creating a document containing a specially crafted filter record, an attacker is able to cause an invalid memory access leading to arbitrary code execution.


Exploitation allows attackers to execute arbitrary code in the context of the user who started Excel.

Exploitation requires that attackers social engineer users into opening a maliciously crafted file in Excel. Reliable exploitation appears to require knowledge of the specific version of Excel being used. Likely attack vectors include sending the file as an e-mail attachment or linking to the file on a website.

By default systems with Office 2000 installed open Office documents, including Excel spreadsheet files, from websites without prompting the user, which allows attackers to exploit this vulnerability without user interaction. Later versions of Office do not open these documents automatically unless the user has chosen this behavior.

Enabling hardware DEP (data execution prevention) on systems that support it (i.e., Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 on hardware with AMD processors that support NX or Intel processors supporting XD) mitigates this vulnerability. The hardware DEP feature prevents code from being executed from areas of memory that do not have the 'executable' bit set. While it may be possible for attackers to bypass this restriction, it can prevent some typical exploitation methods.


iDefense has confirmed Microsoft Excel 2003 is vulnerable. Previous versions are also likely to be affected. Excel 2007 does not appear to be vulnerable.


iDefense is currently unaware of an effective workarounds for this issue.


Microsoft has addressed this vulnerability within MS07-023. For more information, consult their bulletin at the following URL.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2007-1214 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


02/08/2007 Initial vendor notification
02/08/2007 Initial vendor response
05/08/2007 Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was discovered by Greg MacManus (iDefense Labs).

Get paid for vulnerability research

Free tools, research and upcoming events


Copyright © 2007 Verisign, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express written consent of iDefense. If you wish to reprint the whole or any part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please e-mail customer service for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this information.