Public Vulnerability Reports

Multiple Vendor Outside In Multiple Spreadsheet Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities



Oracle Corp.'s Outside In Technology is a document conversion engine supporting a large number of binary file formats. Prior to Oracle's acquisition, the software was maintained by Stellent Inc. The software appears to have originated from "QuickView" for Windows 98, but later spun off. It is used by various software packages, one of which is Motorola Inc.'s Good Mobile Messaging Server. For more information, visit the vendors' sites at the URLs provided below.


Remote exploitation of multiple buffer overflow vulnerabilities in Oracle Corp.'s Outside In Technology, as included in various vendors' software distributions, allow attackers to execute arbitrary code.

Two vulnerabilities exist due to a lack of bounds checking when processing specially crafted Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files. The two issues exist in two distinct functions. The two vulnerabilities are nearly identical, with the differentiating factor being the value of a flag bit within a record of the file. If the bit is set, the code path to the first vulnerable function is taken. Otherwise, the code path to the second vulnerable function is taken.

The cause of the vulnerability is the same in each case. An array of structures, stored on the stack, is manipulated in a loop without validating the bounds of the array. By crafting a file containing a properly malformed record, it is possible to write outside the bounds of this array. The resulting stack corruption can lead to arbitrary code execution.


Exploitation of these vulnerabilities allows attackers to execute arbitrary code. In order to exploit these vulnerabilities, the attacker must somehow supply a malformed document to an application that will process the document with Outside In Technology. Likewise, the privileges gained will also depend on the software using the library.

In the case of Good Mobile Messaging Server, an attacker can send an electronic mail message with an Excel spreadsheet attachment to a user. When the user chooses to view the spreadsheet, the vulnerable condition will be triggered. Upon successful exploitation, the attacker will gain the privileges of the "GoodAdmin" user. This is a special user account which, in some configurations, may be a member of the "Administrator" group. Regardless of the user's "Administrator" status, the user will always have full privileges to "Read" and "Send As" all users on the Microsoft Exchange server. This could allow an attacker to conduct further social engineering attacks.

Other software packages using Outside In were not investigated.


iDefense confirmed the existence of these vulnerabilities using the follow versions of Outside In on Windows Server 2003 SP2. 

Additionally the following versions of Good Mobile Messaging Server for Exchange ship with vulnerable versions of vsxl5.dll. 

All versions of Outside In, including versions for operating systems other than Windows, are assumed to be vulnerable. Additionally, all software that includes or uses Outside In is assumed to be vulnerable. Earlier versions, including those branded with other names, are vulnerable as well.


In order to prevent exploitation of this vulnerability, iDefense recommends using file system access control lists (ACLs) to prevent reading the affected module.

For Good Mobile Messaging Server, Good Software recommends deleting the GdFileConv.exe file and restarting the Messaging Server.


Oracle has released a patch which addresses this issue. For more information, consult their advisory at the following URL:

Good Technology has released a patch which addresses this issue. For more information, consult their advisory at the following URL:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2009-1009 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


01/30/2009 - GoodLink contact identified
01/30/2009 - Security contact research begins
02/05/2009 - Oracle contact identified
02/09/2009 - Initial Oracle Reply
02/09/2009 - Initial Vendor Notification
02/10/2009 - Initial GoodLink Reply
02/11/2009 - Oracle validation
02/16/2009 - GoodLink customer alert sent
02/16/2009 - GoodLink validation
02/19/2009 - Oracle requests PoC
02/19/2009 - PoC sent to Oracle
02/25/2009 - GoodLink status update
02/27/2009 - Oracle status update
03/06/2009 - GoodLink status update
04/14/2009 - Oracle patch released
05/13/2009 - CVE Corelation requested from Oracle
05/14/2009 - Coordinated Public Disclosure
05/14/2009 - GoodLink ready for disclosure coordinated with iDefense


This vulnerability was discovered by Joshua J. Drake, iDefense Labs.

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