Public Vulnerability Reports

Microsoft PowerPoint Build List Memory Corruption Vulnerability



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.


Remote exploitation of a memory 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 during the parsing of the BuildList record. This record is a container for other records that describe charts and diagrams in the PowerPoint file. By inserting multiple BuildList records with ChartBuild containers inside of them, it is possible to trigger a memory corruption vulnerability during the parsing of the ChartBuild container's contents. This allows an attacker to control an object pointer, which can lead to attacker supplied function pointers being dereferenced.


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.


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

PowerPoint Viewer 2003


Use Microsoft's moice tool to convert files to the new XML format.


Microsoft 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-2009-0224 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


10/06/2008 - Initial Contact
10/06/2008 - Initial Response
10/06/2008 - Researcher sent Inquiry to Vendor
10/07/2008 - Case number assigned
10/07/2008 - Initial resposne to Researcher Inquiry
12/12/2008 - Status Update Received - estimated release date 03/10/2009
02/24/2009 - Researcher restates Inquiry to Vendor
02/24/2009 - Status Update Received - estimated release date 06/09/2009
02/24/2009 - Vendor provides response to Inquiry
05/12/2009 - Coordinated Public Disclosure


This vulnerability was discovered by Sean Larsson, iDefense Labs.

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Copyright © 2009 Verisign, Inc.

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