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  3. Microsoft Outlook Express MHTML Forced File Execution Vulnerability

Microsoft Outlook Express MHTML Forced File Execution Vulnerability

Risk

High

Date Discovered

November 25, 2003

Description

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Outlook Express when handling MHTML file and res URIs that could lead to an unexpected file being downloaded and executed. The problem occurs due to the component failing to securely handle MHTML file URIs that reference a non-existent resource. The affected Outlook Express component is used by Microsoft Internet Explorer. As a result, a victim browser user may inadvertently access a page designed to load an embedded object from a malicious location. This would effectively result in the execution of attacker-supplied code within the Local Zone. The vulnerability is present even if Microsoft Outlook has been removed as the default email client. According to Microsoft, Microsoft Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003 is prone to attacks despite its specialized configuration. Microsoft Windows platforms running Microsoft Outlook Express 5.5SP2, 6.0, and 6.0SP1 are reported by the vendor to be affected though the issue may also be present in earlier versions of Microsoft Outlook Express.

Technologies Affected

  • Avaya DefinityOne Media Servers
  • Avaya IP600 Media Servers
  • Avaya S3400 Message Application Server
  • Avaya S8100 Media Servers
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0.1
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0.1 SP1
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0.1 SP2
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0.1 SP3
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 SP1
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 5.5
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 5.5 SP2
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0 SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP3
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP4
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server SP2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server SP3
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server SP4
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP3
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP4
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Japanese Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP3
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP4
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services SP2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services SP3
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services SP4
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0 SP1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0 SP2
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0 SP3
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0 SP4
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0 SP5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0 SP6
  • Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server 4.0 SP6a
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 SP1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 SP2
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 SP3
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 SP4
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 SP5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 SP6
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 SP6a
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0 SP1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0 SP2
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0 SP3
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0 SP4
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0 SP5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0 SP6
  • Microsoft Windows NT Terminal Server 4.0 alpha
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP2
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP3
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP4
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP6
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP6a
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition Itanium
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition Itanium
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP 64-bit Edition Version 2003
  • Microsoft Windows XP 64-bit Edition Version 2003 SP1
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home SP1
  • Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP1
  • Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

Recommendations

Run all software as a nonprivileged user with minimal access rights.

Web browsing and other non-administrative tasks should always be performed as an unprivileged user with minimal access rights. This will limit the consequences of successful exploitation.

Do not follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources.

This issue may be exploited via a malicious web page. Users should be cautious of visiting websites of questionable integrity, especially if they are enticed to do so through unsolicited e-mail or by an unfamiliar or untrusted source.

Set web browser security to disable the execution of script code or active content.

Using browser security settings to disable support for Active Scripting in the Internet Zone will limit exposure to this and other known issues in the browser security model.

Do not accept communications that originate from unknown or untrusted sources.

This vulnerability can be exploited through malicious e-mails or newsgroup posts. Avoid such usage on critical systems. Ensure that e-mail and news clients are run as a regular user account with minimal access to system resources. Apparent e-mail origin should not be trusted as it is trivial for attackers or malicious code to spoof the sending address.

Do not accept communications that originate from unknown or untrusted sources.

This vulnerability can be exploited through malicious emails or newsgroup posts. Avoid such usage on critical systems. Ensure that email and news clients are run as a regular user account with minimal access to system resources. Apparent email origin should not be trusted as it is trivial for attackers or malicious code to spoof the sending address.
Avaya has released an advisory to announce that Avaya System Products shipping on Microsoft platforms are also affected by this vulnerability. Avaya advise that customers follow the Microsoft recommendations for the resolution of this issue. The aforementioned advisory can be viewed at the following location: http://support.avaya.com/japple/css/japple?temp.groupID=&temp.selectedFamily=128451&temp.selectedProduct=154235&temp.selectedBucket=126655&temp.feedbackState=askForFeedback&temp.documentID=161384&PAGE=avaya.css.CSSLvl1Detail&executeTransaction=avaya.css.UsageUpdate() Microsoft has released Outlook Express cumulative patches. It should be noted that specific operating system, Outlook Express, and Internet Explorer versions may need to be installed to apply these cumulative patches. Further information is provided in the Download details page for each cumulative patch.

Credits

The disclosure of this issue has been credited to Liu Die Yu .
Copyright © Symantec Corporation.
Permission to redistribute this alert electronically is granted as long as it is not edited in any way unless authorized by Symantec Security Response. Reprinting the whole or part of this alert in any medium other than electronically requires permission from secure@symantec.com.

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.
Symantec, Symantec products, Symantec Security Response, and secure@symantec.com are registered trademarks of Symantec Corp. and/or affiliated companies in the United States and other countries. All other registered and unregistered trademarks represented in this document are the sole property of their respective companies/owners.

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