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Microsoft PowerPoint Notes Container Heap Corruption Vulnerability

05.12.09

BACKGROUND

Microsoft PowerPoint is an application used for constructing presentations, and comes with the Microsoft Office suite. For more information, see the vendor's site found at the following link.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint/default.aspx

DESCRIPTION

Remote exploitation of a heap corruption vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.'s PowerPoint could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user.

The vulnerability occurs when parsing the Notes container inside of the PowerPoint Document stream. This container is used to hold records related to notes that appear on the slides. By inserting a value into a container, it is possible to trigger a memory corruption vulnerability.

ANALYSIS

Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary code with the privileges of the user opening the file. To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to convince a user to open a malicious file. If the targeted user is running PowerPoint 2000, and the "Office Document Open Confirmation Tool" is not installed, then it is possible to exploit this vulnerability directly through the browser.

Due to the nature of the vulnerability, relatively precise control of the process memory layout is needed to successfully exploit this vulnerability. iDefense Labs has developed exploit code that successfully exploits this vulnerability.

DETECTION

iDefense has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in the following versions of PowerPoint:

PowerPoint 2000 SP3

PowerPoint 2002 (XP) SP3

PowerPoint 2003 SP2

PowerPoint 2003 SP3

PowerPoint 2007, PowerPoint 2007 SP1, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 are not affected.

WORKAROUND

Since PowerPoint Viewer 2003 is not affected, using it to view untrusted or unexpected PowerPoint files is a valid workaround.

VENDOR RESPONSE

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

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS09-017.mspx

CVE INFORMATION

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2009-1130 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

10/22/2008 - Initial Contact
10/22/2008 - Initial Vendor Response
10/22/2008 - PoC Requested
11/05/2008 - PoC Sent
11/05/2008 - Vendor Case Number Assigned
11/07/2008 - Vendor Status Update
02/19/2009 - Vendor Status Update
05/12/2009 - Coordinated Public Disclosure

CREDIT

This vulnerability was discovered by Sean Larsson, iDefense Labs.

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LEGAL NOTICES

Copyright © 2009 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.