Public Vulnerability Reports

Microsoft Windows Graphics Rendering Engine Heap Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

04.08.08

BACKGROUND

Microsoft Windows graphics device interface (GDI) is the core library used to display graphics and text on the Windows operating system. It is the standard interface through which applications access the graphics rendering engine. For more information, see the vendor's site found at the following link.

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms536795(VS.85).aspx

DESCRIPTION

Remote exploitation of a heap based buffer overflow vulnerability in multiple versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user.

The vulnerability occurs when parsing a maliciously crafted EMF file. When performing an arithmetic operation that calculates the size of a heap buffer the code incorrectly assumes that the color depth is a fixed size. By specifying a different color depth, it is possible to trigger a heap based buffer overflow.

ANALYSIS

Exploitation allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user. Exploitation would require convincing a targeted user to visit a malicious URL through some form of social engineering.

This vulnerability can also be triggered through e-mail. If the e-mail client automatically displays images embedded in the e-mail, the user only needs to open the e-mail to trigger the vulnerability.

DETECTION

iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in the following Microsoft products:


Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
Windows XP Service Pack 2
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2
Windows Vista

WORKAROUND

Turn off metafile processing by modifying the registry.

Under registry key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionGRE_Initialize

create a DWORD entry "DisableMetaFiles" and set it to 1.

Note 1: This doesn't affect processes that are already running, so you might need to log off and log in again or restart the computer after making the change.

Note 2: This workaround only blocks the metafile attack vector. Since the vulnerable code is in gdi32.dll, it can possibly be reached through other attack vectors.

Impact of Workaround: components relying on metafile processing might not work properly, such as printing.

Viewing email in plain text format will mitigate email based attacks.

VENDOR RESPONSE

Microsoft has officially addressed this vulnerability with Security Bulletin MS08-021. For more information, consult their bulletin at the following URL.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms08-021.mspx

CVE INFORMATION

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2008-1083 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org/), which standardizes names for security problems.

DISCLOSURE TIMELINE

12/17/2007 Initial vendor notification
12/17/2007 Initial vendor response
04/08/2008 Coordinated public disclosure

CREDIT

This vulnerability was discovered by Jun Mao, iDefense Labs.

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LEGAL NOTICES

Copyright © 2008 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.