Microsoft Word Malformed Record Value Remote Code Execution Vulnerability



Date Discovered

July 8, 2008


Microsoft Word is prone to a remote code-execution vulnerability. Successful attacks may allow arbitrary malicious code to run in the context of the user running the application. Failed attack attempts may result in a crash. Reports indicate that this issue affects Microsoft Office XP. The DeepSight Threat Analysis Team has confirmed that this issue affects Microsoft Office XP with Word 2002 and leads to a crash in Word 2000 and Word 2003.

Technologies Affected

  • Microsoft Office XP
  • Microsoft Office XP SP3
  • Microsoft Word 2000
  • Microsoft Word 2002
  • Microsoft Word 2002 SP3
  • Microsoft Word 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2003 SP2
  • Microsoft Word 2003 SP3


Run all software as a nonprivileged user with minimal access rights.
To mitigate the impact of a successful exploit, run the affected application as a 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 suspicious or anomalous activity. This may help detect malicious actions that an attacker may take after successfully exploiting vulnerabilities in applications. Review all applicable logs regularly.

Do not accept or execute files from untrusted or unknown sources.
Never accept files from untrusted or unknown sources, because they may be malicious in nature. Avoid opening email attachments from unknown or questionable sources.

Implement multiple redundant layers of security.
Since this issue may be leveraged to execute code, we recommend memory-protection schemes, such as nonexecutable stack/heap configurations and randomly mapped memory segments. This tactic may complicate exploit attempts of memory-corruption vulnerabilities.

The vendor has released an advisory and updates to address this issue. Please see the referenced advisory for details on obtaining and applying the appropriate updates.



In-the-wild samples of code exploiting this issue were supplied to Symantec by SANS.

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