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Microsoft Excel SXLI Record Memory Corruption Vulnerability

08.05.12

BACKGROUND

Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet application within Microsoft Office.

DESCRIPTION

Remote exploitation of a memory corruption vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.'s Excel could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user. The vulnerability occurs when Excel parses a specially crafted SXLI record in an Excel file. This record is used to specify pivot table information for a chart. When parsing a specific field, certain invalid values can trigger a memory corruption vulnerability. This can result in the execution of arbitrary code.

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. Attackers typically accomplish this by e-mailing a targeted user the file or hosting the file on a Web page. Exploitation of this vulnerability is relatively complex.

DETECTION

The following Microsoft products are vulnerable:

  • Microsoft Excel 2003 SP 3
  • Microsoft Excel 2007 SP 2
  • Microsoft Office 2007 SP 2
  • Microsoft Excel 2007 SP 3
  • Microsoft Office 2007 SP 3
  • Microsoft Excel 2010 (32-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (32-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Excel 2010 SP 1 (32-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 SP 1 (32-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Excel 2010 (64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Excel 2010 SP 1 (64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 SP 1 (64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Office for Mac 2011
  • Microsoft Excel Viewer
  • Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack SP 2
  • Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack SP 3

WORKAROUND

The vulnerability occurs in the core parsing code of Excel and this code cannot be disabled; however, it is possible to disable the opening of the older binary format files and use MOICE to convert the file to the newer XML-based format. Information about these workarounds is available in the Microsoft bulletin below.

VENDOR RESPONSE

Microsoft Corp. has addressed this vulnerability with the release of updates to Excel. More information can be found at the following URL:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms12-030

CVE INFORMATION

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2012-0184 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

09/22/2011 Initial Vendor Notification
09/22/2011 Initial Vendor Reply
05/08/2012 Coordinated Public Disclosure

CREDIT

This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by Omair.

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LEGAL NOTICES

Copyright © 2012 Verisign, Inc.

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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.