Snapshot Viewer for Microsoft Access ActiveX Control Arbitrary File Download Vulnerability



Date Discovered

July 7, 2008


Snapshot Viewer for Microsoft Access is prone to a vulnerability that can cause malicious files to be downloaded and saved to arbitrary locations on an affected computer. Attackers may exploit this issue to put malicious files in arbitrary locations on a victim's computer. This will facilitate a remote compromise. UPDATE (August 1, 2008): Symantec has observed in-the-wild attacks leveraging a new vector of attack for this issue. The newly discovered vector greatly increases the severity of the flaw because users who do not have the Snapshot Viewer control on their system can be forced to download the control without interaction and can then be exploited.

Technologies Affected

  • Microsoft Access 2000
  • Microsoft Access 2000 SP2
  • Microsoft Access 2000 SP3
  • Microsoft Access 2000 SR1
  • Microsoft Access 2002
  • Microsoft Access 2002 SP1
  • Microsoft Access 2002 SP2
  • Microsoft Access 2002 SP3
  • Microsoft Access 2003
  • Microsoft Office Access 2003 SP2
  • Microsoft Office Access 2003 SP3
  • Microsoft Snapshot Viewer for Microsoft Access


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 a successful exploit.

Run all software as a nonprivileged user with minimal access rights.
To limit the potential damage that a successful exploit may achieve, run all nonadministrative software as a regular user with the least amount of privileges required to successfully operate.

Do not follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources.
Do not following links, visit websites, or open files that are provided by untrusted sources.

Set web browser security to disable the execution of script code or active content.
Since exploiting this issue allows malicious script code to run in web clients, consider disabling support for script code and active content within the client browser. Note that this mitigation tactic might adversely affect websites that rely on the execution of browser-based script code.

Implement multiple redundant layers of security.
Various memory-protection schemes (such as nonexecutable and randomly mapped memory segments) may hinder an attacker's ability to exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary code.

The vendor has released a bulletin and updates to address this issue. Please see the referenced advisory for more information.



The vendor reported this issue.

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