Microsoft Word Mac Remote Code Execution Vulnerability



Date Discovered

October 10, 2006


Microsoft Word for Mac is prone to a remote code-execution vulnerability when parsing Word files. Exploiting this vulnerability may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary machine code in the context of the user who opened the file. An attacker could leverage this issue to gain the permissions of an unsuspecting user. A successful exploit could result in the remote compromise of the affected system.

Technologies Affected

  • Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac
  • Microsoft Word X for Mac


Audit the system and limit, or remove, access to setuid or setgid utilities.
To reduce the impact of vulnerabilities, always run non-administrative software as an unprivileged user with minimal access rights.

Deploy network intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for malicious activity.
Deploy NIDS to monitor network traffic for signs of anomalous or suspicious activity. This includes but is not limited to requests that include NOP sleds and unexplained incoming and outgoing traffic. This may indicate exploit attempts or activity that results from successful exploits.

Do not accept or execute files from untrusted or unknown sources.
Web users should be cautious about files that are provided by unfamiliar or suspicious sources. This can greatly reduce the likelihood of successful exploit attempts.

Do not open email messages from unknown or untrusted individuals.
Users should not open email messages sent from unknown or untrusted sources. This can greatly reduce the likelihood of successful exploit attempts.

Microsoft has released fixes to address this issue. Please see the references for information on how to obtain and apply these fixes.



Microsoft credits Cu Fang with the discovery of this vulnerability.

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